Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
Iwai Kumesaburō III as Shirai Gonpachi (白井権八郎) on the right; Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII as Nippondaemon (日本駄右衛門) in the middle; and Seki Sanjūrō III as Banzui Chōbei (幡ずゐ長兵衛) on the left
ca 1849 – 1852
29.3 in x 14.7 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed on right and left panels: Kōchōrō Toyokuni ga
On the center panel: Ichiyōsai Toyokuni ga
Publisher: Shimizuya Naojirō (Marks 468 - seal 01-081)
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston -they identify the publisher as Yamazakiya Seishichi, but we don't know why
Waseda University - left panel
Waseda University - middle panel
Waseda University - right panel
Lyon Collection - an 1822 diptych by Kunisada with Gonpachi and Chōbei
Lyon Collection - Kuniyoshi mitate print of Koshirō V as Chōbei
Lyon Collection - 1871 Kunichika print of an actor in part of Chōbei's costume Nippondaemon, sometimes spelled Nippon Daemon, is an evil fellow who plays a major role in any number of plays. Sometimes he goes under the alias of Tamashima Ittō.
In a later play by Mokuami the National Theater of Japan describes Banzui Chōbei as: "...the boss of the Edo (modern-day Tokyo) Machi Yakko (a group of ruffian townspeople who wore flamboyant clothing) and a kyokaku who fights against the strong for the sake of the weak. He objects to a group of samurai being violent in a playhouse, and is called out by the samurai side, who resent this. Knowing that this is a trap, he says goodbye to his family, and goes to be killed with his head held high. The kyokaku upon whom he is modeled actually lived during the Edo period (1603-1868), and is said to have opposed a group of samurai with well over 100 followers."
In Tōkaidō Texts and Tales: Tōkaidō gojūsan tsui by Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, and Kunisada, edited by Andreas Marks, on page 41 it says: "The historical Shirai (in real life Hirai) Gonpachi was a highway robber who was executed on the third day of the eleventh month of 1679 and actually never met Banzuiin Chōbei (d. 1650). Their fictitious meeting was an invention of the kabuki theater and first appeared in the play Chopping Board for Banzui Chōbei's Lenten Fare (Banzui Chōbei shojin manaita), performed aat the Nakamura Theater in 1803. Shirai Gonpachi became the most popular motif in actor Tōkaidō series.
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
Seki Sanjūrō III (三代目関三十郎: 4/1840 to 12/1870) (actor)
Iwai Kumesaburō III (三代目岩井粂三郎: from 11/1832 to 1/1864) (actor)
Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII (八代目市川団十郎: 5/10/1823 - 6/8/1854) (actor)
Shirai Gonpachi (白井権八) (role)