Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)
[Sawamura Chōjūrō V - 沢村長十郎 as] Suzuki Mondo (鈴木主水) and his daughter Otoku - center panel of a triptych
9.75 in x 13.75 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Carver: Hori Shōji
Censor's: Fuku and Muramatsu
Tokyo Metropolitan Library - the whole triptych
Suzuki Mondo is, in some versions a rōnin, a leaderless samurai, a man who had been sent on a spying mission. When he got to the Hahimoto-ya he was smitten by the beauty of the geisha/courtesan Shiraito. This was his to be his undoing and that of his family. He left his wife and child to spend time with this woman and squandered what material wealth he had on visits to her. In a diptych by Yoshitoshi, Shiraito is seen on the left and Suzuki Mondo's wife is seen on the right disguised as a man. Is she there to confront her husband's mistress, just to see her or is she planning on killing her?
Although the background information on this theme is sketchy it would appear that it ended in a double suicide of the lovers, Shiraito and Suzuki Mondo.
There is another print in the Lyon Collection which relates to this one. It is a magnificent print by Kuniyoshi showing only Shiraito (#456). It is only the left-hand panel of this diptych.
The kangiku crest on the robe of the adult figure in this print indicates that he is from the Sawamura line. It is a stylized chrysanthemum in a circular motif. There is also a floral-like patterm made up of chidori or plovers.
Although the publisher's seal does not appear on this print it is ascribed to Mikawaya Tetsugorō.