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"Zazenmame" from the series Daruma's buffonery (Dōke Daruma asobi - 道化達磨あそび?)

Identifier: 1847-48 Kuniyoshi daruma

Actors caricatured as Daruma (rare). After the imposition of a ban on actor prints in 1842, Kuniyoshi produced numerous humorous designs with thinly disguised actors’ portraits. In this series, well known actors are portrayed as Daruma, without any mention of their names. This series is listed as number 191 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).

According to the Kuniyoshi Project this publisher is Hori Masa. There are other prints in this series which carry a different publisher's seal.

Marks says that this publisher's seal only appeared in 1849.

Actors Ichimura Uzaemon XII (right), Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII (center) and Onoe Kikujirō II (left)


According to the University of Vienna the text reads:

hōsō yoke naru / daruma no nayose / amata daruma no sono naka de / iji no kitanai gesu na daruma wa soba to udon o kuinigete ore ni o-ashi ga aru mono ka yabureta kabe o / niran de wa / sue nya satori hiraite / isshū hirometa / zazen-mame meshi no sai

Fending off the pox
Protection through Daruma
character is bad and Daruma is a vulgar guy
the soba and udon are skipping the tab
staring at the dirty wall
to reach enlightenment
spreading the one teaching
zazen beans
side dish to a rice meal


The zazen (座禅) of the title refers to a seated Zen meditation pose.

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