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Artist: Tsuruya Kōkei (弦屋光溪)

Print: Bandō Tamasaburō V as Komurasaki of the Miura house
in the play Sono Kouta Yume mo Yoshiwara [其小唄夢廓]

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Dates: 1991,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,15.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Number 27 (of 90) - 二十七

Related links: Tsuruya Kōkei web site; Google maps - Yoshiwara Shrine - one of the only signs of where this famous district was;

Physical description:

This print commemorates a performance at the Kabuki-za in 1991.

Komurasaki is featured in three other prints in the Lyon Collection: #825 by Kuniyoshi; #1020 by Hokuei; and #772 by Eisui.

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There is another copy of this print in the collection of the British Museum, but it is not illustrated online.

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"The Lovers Miura-ya Komurasaki and Shirai Gonpachi is a tragic Japanese love story, taken from real life and dramatized were a staple of stage and print; the darkly romantic combination of desire and death was hugely popular in the eighteenth century in Japan. Hirai Gompachi was Japanese warrior of the Tottori fief in western Japan who fled to Edo after committing a murder. He was apprehended and sentenced to death in 1679. His distraught lover, the courtesan Komurasaki, committed suicide at his grave. In its day, people who were sympathetic to Gonpachi and Komurasake's tale were so moved that they built a hiyokuzuka ("lovers' tomb") in their memory. To further commemorate their story Japanese temple priests carved a picture of the Hiyoku, (a legendary lovebird that exists only when it has found its mate), on the tomb. How much of this Japanese story is fact, and how much is fiction is anyone's guess. Clearly there are many questions that challenge its historical validity. However, this tale has inspired numerous theatrical productions and artwork."

Summary of Loves of Gompachi and Komurasaki: Japanese Tales by Elena N. Gand (JSV)