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

Print: Triptych of Nakamura Jakunosuke (中村雀之助) as Arakoma Kotarō (荒駒小太郎)
on the left; Sawamura Tanosuke III as Ryōshi Onami;
Ichimura Uzaemon XIII (市村羽左衛門) as Neko no Chunori (猫の中のり) the cat monster;
Nakamura Shikan IV (中村芝翫) as Suwa Kazuemon (頂波数右衛門)
from the play Tōkaidō Iroha Nikki

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Dates: 1861,created
Dimensions: 28.75 in,14.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Izutsuya Shōkichi
(Marks 188 - seal 24-055)
Combined date/censor seal: 6/1861 and aratame
Carver: Hori Chō

Related links: Victoria and Albert Museum; Drexel University, Philadelphia - left panel only; National Diet Library; Ritsumeikan University - left panel; Ritsumeikan University - center panel; Ritsumeikan University - right panel; Indianapolis Museum of Art - right-hand panel; Indianapolis Museum of Art - center panel; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - a different composition, same theme, same year;

Physical description:

There is a similar composition by Toyokuni III at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston which gives a variant of the name or the role represented by Nakamura Jakunosuke as Arakoma Kotarō.

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The curatorial files at the Fitzwilliam Museum give some background on the cat monster motif.

"Plots involving cat-spirits belong to a category of play derived from the puppet theatre, called Neko sodo mono ('Cat-family dispute play'), which usually concerned people who wreaked havoc after being possessed by an evil cat-spirit. The first such Kabuki play was popularly known as Okazaki no neko (The Cat of Okazaki) because of the episode in which a mother was possessed by a cat-spirit and took up residence in an old temple at Okazaki, where she practised cat witchcraft. It was first produced in 1827, starring Onoe Kikugoro III, and was based on the picaresque novel by Jippensha Ikku, Tokaidochu hiza kurige (On Shanks's Mare along the Tokaido), which told the story of two comic characters from Edo making their way along the Tokaido."