Mimasu Gennosuke I as Soga Juro Sukenari with Onoe Kikugoro III as Nekoishi; Onoe Kikugoro III as Futayaku Denkichi and as Jirokichi; and Ichimura Uzaemon XII as Soga no Goro jishu with Onoe Kikugoro III as Oshichi
each sheet signed Ichiyusai Kuniyoshi ga, with censor's kiwame seal and publisher's seal Kawaguchi-ya (Chozo), ca.1835
oban tate-e triptych 14 7/8 by 29 7/8 in., 37.8 by 76 cm
The actors are depicted in their roles from the premiere of the popular play, Ume no haru gojusan tsugi (Plum Spring, Fifty-Three Stations), which was written by Mimasuya Nisoji, Jusuke and Tsuraya Magotaro IV and staged in the 2nd lunar month of 1835 at the Ichimura Theater. The title alludes to the fifty-three stations along the Tokaido Road, a popular theme in landscape prints at the time.
In the right sheet, the actor Mimasu Gennosuke I (1798-1859) in the role of Soga no Juro is paired with the Okazaki station on the Tokaido, with an image in the round cartouche of Onoe Kikugoro III (1784-1849) as the famous Okazaki cat ghost. In the center sheet, Kikugoro in the role of Futayaku Denkichi is likened to the Otsu station, with an image in the cartouche of Kikugoro again in the role of Jirokichi (actually Yoshitaka Shimizu), a farmer using the sorcery of a rat. And in the left sheet, the actor Ichimura Uzaemon XII (Ichimura Takenojo V, 1812-1851) in the role of Soga no Goro is paired with the Yui station with an image of Kikugoro as Oshichi pushing a boy down a hill, bringing the total portrayals of Kikugoro to four out of the six roles represented.
The Kuniyoshi Project (kuniyoshiproject.com)
Waseda University Theatre Museum, reference nos. 100-8841, 100-8842, 100-8843
(inv. no. 10-5375)
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site last updated
January 15, 2022
Scholten Japanese Art
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