Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Bandō Shūka I as the courtesan Shiraito (白糸) of the Hashimotoya (橋本屋) -
this is the left-hand panel of a diptych

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Dates: 1852,created
Dimensions: 9.75 in,14.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
Artist's seal: kiri
Publisher: Enshūya Hikobei
(Marks 055 - seal 21-016)
Censors' seals: Mera and Watanabe
Date seal: 3/1852
Seal: shita-uri or 'discreet sale' (シタ売)

Related links: Art Gallery of New South Wales - the full diptych; National Museums Scotland; The Hermitage Museum - Yoshitoshi diptych of the same theme;

Physical description:

This print commemorates a scene from the play Sumidagawa tsui no kagamon (隅田川対高賀紋) performed in 2/1852 at the Nakamura (or Ichimura) Theater in Edo.

Note the Western style perspective.


"By far the most popular kudoki was 'Suzuki Mondo,' the story of a faineant samurai who squanders all his money on the geisha Shiraito, thereby bringing about the ruin of his house and family... The incident on which the story is based may have occurred in Edo in 1801, although some scholars believe that Shiraito may not have existed at all."

Quoted from: The Autobiography of Takahashi Chikuzan: Adventures of a Tsugaru-jamisen Musician, p. xi.

Kabuki21 defines kudoki (口説き) as "highly dramatic scene in which an onnagata actor depicts a woman's sighs, tears, love, passion or regrets for the past. Somehow the equivalent of an aria for Kabuki female roles."


The figure in the background in the black cape with hood may be Suzuki Mondo's wife in disguise as a man. She has come to confront and possibly try to kill Shiraito. This is based on the information provided from a Yoshitoshi diptych of this scene.