Artist: Toyohara Kunichika (豊原国周)

Print: Ichikawa Sadanji I (市川左團次) as Akiyama Kii no kami (秋山紀伊守) amidst flames from the play The Kōshū War Strategy and the Takeda Clan Preparing for Battle

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Dates: 1894,created
Dimensions: 27.5 in,14.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Toyohara Kunichika hitsu
Artist's seal: toshidama in red
Publisher: Akiyama Buemon
(Marks 005 - seal [close to] 30-009)
Date: Meiji 27, 5th month, 1st day

Related links: Japanese Arts Council; Chazen Museum of Art; New York Times review; National Museum of Asian Art;

Physical description:

Amy Newland wrote in her Time Present and Time Past - Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika 1835-1900 "The print here of the lord Akiyama Kii no kami is drawn from a scene in a history play surrounding the 16th-century Takeda clan in Kai province... This triptych was produced twelve days prior to the actual performance."


This triptych is from a series called New Plays of the Meiji-za (Meiji-za shinkyōgen - 明治座新狂言). The play represented here is The Kōshū War Strategy and the Takeda Clan Preparing for Battle (甲州流武田幕張).


In the New York Times review of the exhibition, Utagawa: Masters of the Japanese Print, 1770-1900 from March 22, 2008 there is not only a full-color reproduction of this triptych, but also these comments by Ken Johnson: "Also extraordinary is Toyohara Kunichika’s dramatic wide-angle picture from 1894 of an actor dressed in a sumptuously patterned costume surrounded by vividly colored flames. With a fierce expression on his face, he poses with extended arms; holding a sword in one hand, he prepares to commit seppuku, or ritual suicide."


This triptych appears across the front cover of a book entitled On Directing and Dramaturgy: Burning the House by Eugenio Barba.