Gajuken Shunchō (画寿軒春潮) (artist )
Onoe Tamizō II as Kaminari (god of thunder) and Tobane in Hatsuharu no kotobuki iwau kokonobake
10.3 in x 14.9 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Gajuken Shunchō ga (画寿軒春潮画)
Publisher: Honya Seishichi and Kichi
Lyon Collection - another Tamizō II print from this series
This piece was performed at the Chikubo Theater in Osaka.
Hatsuharu no kotobuki iwau kokonobake (Nine changes for long-life in early spring: 初春寿九化) brought together a set of nine pieces for a single actor to showcase his skills in acting, recitation, and dance. It is an example of so-called hatsuharu kyōgen ("early spring plays" or "New Year's plays": 初春狂言).
Kaminari (かみなり), also Raiden (雷電) or Raijin (雷神), the thunder god, was typically depicted with a red body, a demon's face, and clawed feet. Among his possessions were thunder-making drums, which in many depictions of this god he seems always to be misplacing and attempting to relocate. A drum wheel was worn by the actor, who attached it to a harness around the waist. The wheel would arc above his head (forming a sort of nimbus), and the actor would play it with drumsticks held in both hands.
This unusual design depicts Tamizō as Kaminari (かみなり) kneeling within his thunder clouds, and as Tobane (とばへ) looking up at Kaminari. Other roles in the series on four other sheets include compositions by Shunchō (Shakkyō), Shunsei (Tokimune and his daughter; Genta and a fisherman) and Shunshi (Seishōjo and a watchman in Edo). Kaminari's drums are decorated with magatama ("bent jewel": 勾玉) emblems. In his left hand he holds a kiseru (smoking pipe: 烟管) and a bag inscribed ho (no) yo jin (Be careful with fire). The odawara (collapsible paper lantern: 小田原) serves as a cartouche bearing the actor's roles and name, along with a title, Kokonobake no uchi (Series of nine changes: 九之化之内).
Very little is known of this artist who signed as Shunchō (春朝). He was one of several printmakers using the artist name "Shunchō," each with different kanji for the "chō" (see, for example, HSO02, signed Shunchō 春頂 for the earlier name of Hokushō). The present artist was a pupil of Shunshi and worked circa in the late 1820s-early 1830s.
There are four other prints from this series, one of which is also in the Lyon Collection, in Osaka Prints by Dean J. Schwaab, pp. 130-131.
Honya Seishichi (本屋清七) (publisher)
Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (genre)
Onoe Tamizō II (二代目尾上多見蔵: 11/1820-1848; 1850-November, 1885) (actor)