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Bandō Shūka I as Danshichi’s wife Okaji (団七おかぢ) on the left and Seki Sanjurō III as the wife of Giheiji (義平次ばゞア) of Mikawa-cho in the play Shinzō tsurifune kidan [新造艣奇談?]

Identifier: 1852 Kuniyoshi hag

This diptych commemorates a performance at the Ichimura Theater 1852/04.

This is a particularly curious diptych which shows the wife of Danshichi Kurobei about to slay Danshichi's mother-in-law. Acts of violence by women in Japanese prints are not unknown, but this one is different in that it replaces the figure of Danshichi, who often can be seen wearing a red and white plaid garment, about to kill his father-in-law Goheiji. This is simply a gender substitution. Sadly, we don't know what the play this scene is from, but the parallels are more than evident.

Of course, this situation raises a number of questions which as of now we are unable to answer. If Okaji is about to slay Goheiji's wife, does that mean that she about to kill her own mother? Or, had her mother died and been replaced by a step-mother? We will try to answer this question after further research.

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