Artist: Toyohara Kunichika (豊原国周)

Print: Ichimura Uzaemon XIII (市村 羽左衛門) as Motoyui Bunshichi (元結屋文七) and Bandō Mitsugorō VI (坂東三津五郎) as the geisha Osaki (芸者おさき)

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Dates: 1864,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.25 ft,Overall dimensions
Medium: color woodblock print

Signed: Kunichika ga (国周画)
Publisher: Izutsuya Shōkichi (Marks 188 - seal 24-055) Carver: Katada Hori Chō
Date seal: 1864, 7th month

Related links: Japan Arts Council; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - an 18th c. print by Tori Kiyomasu I of Bunshichi Motoyui; Kabuki21 - summary of a play based on this theme;

Physical description:

A motoyui is a paper strip used to tie off the hair. While this print is dated from 1864 there is a play that must me connected with the story behind this print. The play was first performed in 1902 and is called Ninjō Banashi Bunshichi Motoyoui. Click on the link to Kabuki21 to see a summary of that play.

One should also note that based on this print by Kunichika and the one by Kiyomasu print linked above which comes from the 18th century, both of which feature 'Bunshichi Motoyui,' must come from an related but unrecorded earlier play or plays.


A talented geisha is one who can perform on the shamisen well. On the shelf in the upper left of this print is a partial view of her instrument. Look for the white kawa or skin. Slightly higher and more toward the center in the back is the household altar with its mochi or two-tiered, sticky rice cake on a ceremonial stand, two saké containers - one representing the male and the other the female - and a memorial portrait of a revered ancestor.