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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: The End (Taibi - 大尾), Jinzaburō (甚三郎), retainer of Shikamatsu Kanroku
(鹿松諌家僕塵三郎) from the series Stories of the True Loyalty of the Faithful Samurai
(Seichū gishi den - 誠忠義士傳)

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Dates: 1847,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
一勇斎国芳画
Artist's seal: kiri
Publisher: Ebiya Rinnosuke
(Marks 040 - seal not listed)
Censor's seal: Mera and Murata

Related links: Tokyo Metropolitan Library; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; British Museum; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - a copy of this print without the 'taibi' seal;

Physical description:

Henry D. Smith II wrote in a footnote to a scholarly work on the Chūshingura: "The most famous of these servants [i.e. komono 小者], both in fact and legend, was Jinzaburō 甚三郎, the servant-retainer of Chikamatsu Kanroku 近松勘六 (1670-1703) who brought oranges and rice cakes for the rōnin after the attack on Kira."

A komono was just one type of servant. The word itself can be translated as a young person; a petty servant; an errand boy of a samurai family; a person of a lowly status; or a menial.

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"The End" or "taibi" (大尾) from the title does not appear on this print in the Lyon Collection. If it did it would show up in a circle just below and to the left of the publisher's seal. Compare it to the first link above to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with a copy of this print with the 大尾 seal. The second link, which we have added to another copy in their collection is like the one shown here - without the "taibi" imprint.

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There is a commercial web site that calls itself the "Postcard Museum" (絵葉書資料館). A fascinating site worth visiting. One of the postcards they are offering is an old, non-colored reproduction of the print shown on this page, but with an awkwardly translated title in English at the bottom: "JinZaburo, the Vassal of Kanroku, Chikamats." No date is given but it looks to be from the late 19th to early years of the 20th century.