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Diptych: The Cat Witch Demon with Iwai Hanshirō V (岩井半四郎)
as Mikuni Kojorō (三国小女郎) on the left and Onoe Kikugorō III (尾上菊五郎)
as Tamaya Shimbei (三浦屋新兵へ) on the right in the play Shinjū to tare mo yūdachi
(心中誰夕立- しんじゅうたれもゆうだち)

Identifier: 1830s Kunisada cat witch

Two actors under umbrellas look up fearfully at the apparition of the Cat Witch Okabe flying above them through a thunder-cloud. A fine dramatic composition.

The word 'yūdachi' (夕立) means 'sudden shower'.


The name of the actor on the left is the same in each of the examples shown at the Mead Art Museum and the Hankyu Culture Foundation, but the name of the role at the later is different from the one in Amherst and in the Lyon Collection. The Hankyu character is Katsusaya Kojorō (かつさや小女郎). Clearly this would indicate different editions of this diptych.

Notice also the difference in the inking of the robes this example and those at the Hankyu Culture Foundation. This strengthens our argument for different editions. Which of the two is earlier is still up in the air. (JSV)

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