Shunkōsai Hokushū (春好斎北洲) (artist ca 1808 – 1832)
Right panel: Bandō Mitsugorō III (坂東三津五郎) as Daihanji Kiyozumi (大判事清澄) and Arashi Koroku IV (嵐小六) as Koganosuke (久我之助): left panel Nakamura Matsue III (中村松江) as Sadaka's daughter Hinadori (娘ひな鳥) and Nakamura Utaemon III (中村歌右衛門) as the widow Sadaka (後室狭高) - from the play Imoseyama Onna Teikin [妹背山婦女庭訓 - Mount Imo and Mount Se: An Exemplary Tale of Womanly]
15.25 in x 10.25 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Shunkōsai Hokushū ga
Publisher: Wataya Kihei (Marks 579 - seal 12-053)
Metropolitan Museum of Art - right panel only
Waseda University - right panel only
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - left panel only
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - right panel only
Philadelphia Museum of Art - right-hand panel
Philadelphia Museum of Art - left-hand panel
Joseph Schnitzer Museum of Art - left panel only
Hankyu Culture Foundation - right panel
Hankyu Culture Foundation - left panel
Lyon Collection - another example of this diptych
Ishikawa Prefectural Museum of Art - right panel only
Royal Museums of Art and History, Belgium (via Cultural Japan) - left-hand panel only
The versatility of Utaemon III's acting skills is made apparent in his role here as Sadaka, an older women. His range was so great that he could successfully perform either male or female roles. A careful examination of his robes and you will notice clearly the tsuru-bishi or white cranes on a pinkish field running vertically down the actors sleeve.
Sasabeni (笹紅), an expensive safflower cosmetic used to paint the lower lip, a fashion craze mainly for women, can be seen on the lower lips of both of the young lovers.
"The kabuki play Imoseyama was adapted from the puppet theater. It was first performed in 1771, shortly after Chikamatsu Hanji's puppet version opened at the Takemoto Theater in Osaka. The Soga clan had long ruled the nation through a regency, but a confederation of noblemen that formed around the royal prince Naka no Ōe, later the Emperor Tenchi, was able to overthrow it and make possible the Taika Reforms of 645 A.D. In the most moving and frequently performed act of the play, Soga no Iruka orders Sadaka and Kiyozumi to send their children, Hinadori and Koganosuke, to his court as hostages to insure loyalty. In spite of a feud between the two families, the children had fallen in love with each other, but hearing Iruka's orders, they decide independently to die rather than compromise themselves or their parents. Touched by their children's love and courage, the parents forgo their differences and resolve to work together to bring about the tyrant's downfall.
The scene shown takes place on the day of the Doll Festival. The two houses are set among blossoming cherry trees on either side of a river and the action proceeds on sides of the stage simultaneously. The actor's are shown after the parents return from Iruka's court, as each of the children resolve on suicide."
Quoted from: The Theatrical World of Osaka Prints by Roger Keyes, p. 72.
There are two states known: With and without publisher’s seal. Some embellishments are added and some removed on the two states.
Bibliography: Kitagawa, Bosuton bijutsukan shozō Kamigata-e mokuroku (Kansai daigaku, 2007), p. 90; Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage (2004), p. 72; Ikeda bunko, Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei, vol. 1 (1997), #096; Keyes 1973, #197ab
The left panel is illustrated in color in Ukiyo-e Masterpieces in European Collection 5: Victoria and Albert Museum II, Kodansha, 1989, #150.
Wataya Kihei (綿屋喜兵衛) (publisher)
Nakamura Utaemon III 三代目中村歌右衛門 (actor)
Bandō Mitsugorō III 三代目坂東三津五郎 (actor)
Arashi Koroku IV 四代目嵐小六 (actor)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (genre)
Nakamura Matsue III (三代目中村松江) (actor)