Artist: Hasegawa Sadanobu I (初代長谷川貞信)

Print: Bandō Jutarō I (坂東寿太郎) as Lady Iwafuji (局岩ふじ) on the right, Nakamura Tomijūrō II (中村富十郎) as the Servant Ohatsu (お初), and Mimasu Gennosuke I (三枡源之助) as Chūrō Onoe (中老尾上) on the left in the play Mirror Mountain: A Woman's Treasury of Loyalty (Kagamiyama Kokyō no Nishikie)

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Dates: created,1838
Dimensions: 30.0 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Hasegawa Sadanobu ga
Publisher: Tenmaya Kihei (Marks 536 - seal 21-193)

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Kansai University Library; Kabuki21 - summary of the play Kagamiyama; Hankyu Culture Foundation - right panel; Hankyu Culture Foundation - left panel ;

Physical description:

This triptych commemorates a performance of Kagamiyama Kokyō no Nishikie (加賀見山旧錦絵) at Kado Theater in 1838/1.


The curatorial files at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston say:

The background of the triptych represents a woven plaid fabric, with appliqued letters made of other dyed fabrics spelling out the title of the play. This unusual compositional technique gives a fresh twist to the ever-popular story of the brave maidservant Ohatsu, who foils the plots of the evil lady-in-waiting Iwafuji.

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston gives the title of this play this translation: Color Prints of the Old Home Town at Mirror Mountain.

In Revenge Drama in European Renaissance and Japanese Theatre: From Hamlet to Madame Butterfly by Kevin J. Wetmore, the title is translated as Mirror Mountain: A Woman's Treasury of Loyalty, which Wetmore notes "...is often called 'The Female Chushingura because both the avenger and the target of the revenge are women." (p. 11)


This play is referenced in Edo Culture: Daily Life and Diversions in Urban Japan, 1600-1868 by Matsunosuke Nishiyama on page 128:

Rural audiences were often extremely naive. Spectators might climb onto the stage and injure actors playing villains such as Sadakurō in Kanadehon chūshingura or Iwafuji in Kagamiyama kokyō no nishiki-e. Conversely, a handsome actor of young lover roles was lionized by rural girls. Their squeals of delight were sure to accompany him wherever he went.


The two outer prints of this grouping are illustrated in Ikeda Bunko, Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei, vol. 3, Osaka, 2001, No 12.


Like most kabuki plays known today only a few acts of this play have been preserved and are still being performed. In volume 2 of Kabuki Plays on Stage..., edited by James Brandon and Samuel Leiter, there is a discussion and translation of Kagamiyama Kokyō no Nishikie, pp. 172-212.


Illustrated in black and white in Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collections: Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels, vol. 9, Kodansha, 1989, p. 208, #138.