Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Onbō canal scene from the Tōkaidō Yotsuya Kaidan with Ichikawa Ebizō V (市川海老蔵) on the left as Kamiya Iemon (神谷伊右衛門), Matsumoto Kōshirō V (松本幸四郎) as Naosuke (直助), Iemon's assistant, Onoe Kikugorō III (尾上菊五郎) as Oiwa floating in the river, and Onoe Eizaburō III (尾上栄三郎) on the right as Oyumi (お弓)

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Dates: 1836,created
Dimensions: 30.0 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
(Marks 595 - seal 04-007)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Waseda University - center panel; Waseda University - left panel; Waseda University - right panel; Japan Arts Council; National Museums of Scotland - right panel; National Museums of Scotland - center panel; National Museums of Scotland - left panel; Hankyu Culture Foundation - 1831 Osagawa Tsuneyo as Oyumi;

Physical description:

The curatorial files of the National Museum of Scotland note that in the right panel "...Onoe Eisaburō III as O-Yumi watching horrified as the decomposing corpse of O-Iwa (played by Onoe Kikugorō III) floats down the river tied to a door, Matsumoto Kōshirō V as Naosuke striking a catfish with a grave-marker caught by the villain Tamiya Iemon (played by Ichikawa Ebizo V), from the play Tokaido Yotsuya kaidan [東海道四谷怪談] at the Morita theatre..."

Note that Tamiya Iemon is sometimes referred to as Kamily Iemon. In time we hope to clarify this discrepancy.


Illustrated in color on page 23 of Kabuki Theatre Prints by Rosina Buckland, National Museums of Scotland, 2013. "This classic moment in the play is achieved by means of a stage trick, known as the 'raindrop flip' (toita-gaeshi), whereby the two decaying corpses, which are played by the same actor, appear in quick succession. The flame suspended in the air above the corpse was a convention used to indicate an other-worldly presence. As was common, this print combines more than one moment in the action."

"Furthermore, the design presents Onoe Eisaburō III in the part of O-Yumi, but he did not in fact appear, indicating that the print was published ahead of time."

This scene takes place at the Onbō canal.