Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
Ichikawa Monnosuke III (市川門之助) as Akoya (あこや), a mother with her son, played by Onoe Matsusuke III (尾上松助) as Hiroi Yokichi - from the play Ise heishi ume no Mitegura [伊勢平氏額英幣] - right hand panel
Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga
Publisher: Uemura Yohei (Marks 564 - seal 05-007)
Censor's seal: kiwame
Victoria and Albert Museum
British Museum - an 1820 Kunisada triptych from this play - with additional characters
Waseda University - another 1820 Kunisada of Akoya, same actor
Lyon Collection - another copy of this print
Hankyu Culture Foundation
Hankyu Culture Foundation - center panel
Hankyu Culture Foundation - left panel The National Theater of Japan describes Akoya as: "Akoya is a keisei (a high-ranking courtesan) of Kyoto and the lover of Kagekiyo, a samurai from the Heike clan. After the destruction of the Heike clan, Kagekiyo goes into hiding; Akoya is summoned by officials who are pursing him and interrogated. Akoya answers that she does not know Kagekiyo’s whereabouts, and the officials order her to play three instruments – the koto, shamisen, and kokyu – but release her as they know from the calmness of the music that she is not lying. This character is elegant and attractive, boldly and skillfully playing instruments while singing of her feelings for her lover when cornered."
This print commemorates a performance of Ise heishi ume no Mitegura by Tsuruya Namboku IV (4代鶴屋南北) at the Kawarazaki-za in 11/1820, as identified by the Victoria and Albert Museum. In an older play, Dan no Ura Kabuto Gunki, Akoya is the mistress of Kagekiyo. This appears to be a more modern rendition of that play.
Did Ichikawa Monnosuke III play a different character in this play, too? In the triptych at the British Museum this actor is referred to as the Geisha Oben performing alongside Onoe Kikugorō III as Tomozuna no Kame and Seki Sanjūrō II as Haenuki no Iwa. Also, that triptych is published by a different house, Iseya Rihei, than this print in the Lyon Collection.
Uemura Yohei (上村与兵衛) (publisher)
Ichikawa Monnosuke III (三代目市川門之助) (actor)
Onoe Matsusuke III (三代目尾上松助: 11/1814 to 1848) (actor)