Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: Double portrait of Ichikawa Ebizō V (市川海老蔵) as Toneri Matsuōmaru (舎人松王丸) and Ichikawa Gangyoku I (市川眼玉) as Shundō Genba (春藤玄蕃) from an untitled series of paired actors on poem slips (tanzaku)

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Dates: 1850,created
Dimensions: 9.5 in,13.75 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: ōju (by special request) Kōchōrō Toyokuni ga
Publisher: Sanoya Kihei (Marks 446 - seal 17-001)
Censors' seals: Kinugasa and Watanabe
Seal: shita-uri or 'discreet sale' (シタ売)

Related links: Waseda University; Ritsumeikan University; National Diet Library; Hankyu Culture Foundation ;

Physical description:

The background of this print uses the itame mokuhan or imitation woodgrain technique (板目木版).

"The printing of a wood grain within a print. A wood plank is soaked in water to open up the grain and is then inked and printed to intentionally reproduce the nature of the wood itself."


Both of these figures, Genba on the left, and Matsuōmaru on the right, play important roles in the kabuki play Sugawara and the Secrets of Calligraphy. Genba is based loosely on a genuine, historical figure from the Heian court living at the same time as Michizane no Sugawara. The original Genba was the secretary in charge of visiting foreign emissaries and in the running of Buddhist organizations.


There is another copy of this print in the National Gallery, Prague.

The text on the left reads: 水のるけんばも夏の風のせいか.

The text on the right reads: いくとしも何とて松は青ひものつたなき業の連れなかりける.


There are approximately 16 prints from this series in the collection of Ritsumeikan University.