Artist: Utagawa Hirosada (歌川広貞)

Print: Mimasu Daigorō IV [三枡大五郎] is in the role of Yurugi Saemon [由留木左衛門] in the play Keisei Somewaka Tazuna [けいせい染分総] - left panel of a triptych

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Dates: 1854,created
Dimensions: 7.28 in,9.84 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Hirosada (広貞)
Unidentified faint seal in red in lower right corner

Related links: Lyon Collection - An 1841 Sadanobu composition showing a figure holding a demon mask;Lyon Collection - A Kuniyoshi triptych from 1851 showing a figure holding a demon mask by its teeth;Lyon Collection - an 1834 Shunkei print related to the theme of this print;Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art;

Physical description:

Keisei Somewake Tazuna means 'A Courtesan's Reins Dyed in Different Colors'. It was written by Nagawa Harusuke and Nakamura Utaemon III under the pen name Kanazawa Ryūgyoko. It debuted in 1822.


This print, one panel of a triptych, helps commemorate a performance at the Naka Theater in the first month of 1854. Saemon is holding a demon mask in his left hand. There are at least two other prints in the Lyon Collection, possibly more, that show figures holding demon masks. See the links above. (JSV)


Osaka prints tell us that this play "...was adapted, as were quite a number of other plays, from Koi nyōbō somewake tazuna (Love and a wife's reins dyed in different colors; 1751). The earlier play was itself a revision of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's Tanba yosaku matsuyo no komuro bushi. It has been reported that the accomplished dramatist Harusuke became so enraged at what he believed to be a poorly constructed play that he attacked his co-writer Utaemon with a knife.

The story involves a shop owner and his older brother who stop conspirators from stealing the treasures of the Yurugi daimyō family, and features Sankichi, a tobacco cutter (tobakokiri), who emerges as the hero of the drama.


Chuban size sheet. Illustrated front picture in Hajek, Lubar "Hirosada, Holzschnitte aus Kamigata", Artia, Prag 1959.

Listed in Ikeda bunko, Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei, vol. 4, 2003, #519, p. 113.


Yurugi Saemon is described in the 1973 publication National Theatre of Japan as the Lord of Tamba, "a generous and sensitive man".