• Ichikawa Yonezō IV (市川米蔵) as Ishii Genzō (石井源蔵) in <i>Katakiuchi ukiki no kameyama</i> ('Grief for a gentle flower and revenge at Kameyama')
Ichikawa Yonezō IV (市川米蔵) as Ishii Genzō (石井源蔵) in <i>Katakiuchi ukiki no kameyama</i> ('Grief for a gentle flower and revenge at Kameyama')
Ichikawa Yonezō IV (市川米蔵) as Ishii Genzō (石井源蔵) in <i>Katakiuchi ukiki no kameyama</i> ('Grief for a gentle flower and revenge at Kameyama')

Enjaku (猿雀) (artist )

Ichikawa Yonezō IV (市川米蔵) as Ishii Genzō (石井源蔵) in Katakiuchi ukiki no kameyama ('Grief for a gentle flower and revenge at Kameyama')

Print


03/1860
7.5 in x 10.2 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed within a butterfly-chrysalis or seed pod cartouche: Enjaku

This print commemorates a performance at the Inari Shrine theater, 3/1860.

An adauchi mono (‘revenge play’), or Kameyama no katakiuchi mono (‘Kameyama revenge play’), based on actual event involving the Ishii brothers in the Date clan’s castle at Kameyama in 1701. It presents a vendetta by Ishikawa Hyōsuke against Akabori Mizuemon, a villain who tricked Hyōsuke’s father into killing his innocent wife for being unfaithful. Genzō was Hyōsuke’s brother-in-law who exacts revenge against Mizuemon. In later adaptations Genzō fights (and in some versions loses his life to) the villain Fujikawa Mizuemon. This is the 2nd state, standard edition. Background includes a butterfly ‘kakihan’ = a “yone-style” butterfly (Yonezō’s mon) and 3 stripes for “zô.”

1st state in Lühl collection and another one in the Fiorillo collection.

Illustrated in color in Ikeda Bunko, Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei (Collected Kamigata Actor Prints), vol. 4, 2003, #670, p. 153.

Also illustrated in Andon in an article by Fiorillo and Lühl, 'Enjaku: Osaka master of the deluxe print', 2006, p. 18.

"Publishers would typically favor the most celebrated actors whose portraits they could market to large audiences. A special relationship might develop, however, between an artist and a lesser-known actor. Such was the case with Enjaku and Ichikawa Yonezō III (1834-1896)."

"The actor-artist 'partnership' between Enjaku and Yonezō was perhaps unrivaled in Osaka printmaking, especially given that Yonezō was a young actor lacking the status of a superstar. The frequency of Yonezō's appearances in the works of Enjaku far exceeds that of any other actor. Enjaku portrayed 46 different actors in 147 theatrical or memorial compositions; Yonezō appears in 78 (53%) oÍ these, either alone or in combination with other actors. No other actor comes close to appearing as often." (Ibid., pp. 18-19.)

"Yet another measure of Yonezō's importance is his appearance in single-actor portraits (excluding polyptychs): Yonezō appeared 43 times in solo portraits, whereas solo portraits for all the other actors combined numbered only 35."

The background displays a prominent decorative motif of a butterfly and three diagonal parallel lines. This would be an iconographer's nightmare except that Fiorillo and Lühl give us a full explanation of this motif on page 19 in a section entitled 'Yonezō's butterfly mon'. "Enjaku paid further homage to Yonezō by working into his compositions an array of variations on the actor's butterfly mon ('crest').In most cases Enjaku centered the design around a cross representing the third and fourth strokes in the first character of the actor's name (Yone, 米), with stylized modifications for the four diagonal strokes in the 'quadrants' delimited by the 'cross'. There are at least 46 designs with butterfly symbols or naturalistic butterflies. Most of these prints incorporate a single mon, but nine compositions use two different butterfly mon... one design includes three... and yet another has four.... Enjaku also used the mon as a rebus: once for a decorative repeat pattern in the background... twice for a large background rebus with butterfly wings and antennae above the second character of actor's name, (三), formed by three diagonal lines... and once with the rebus in the cartouche..." [The use of the bold type is ours.]

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In Tōkaidō Texts and Tales: Tōkaidō gojūsan tsui by Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, and Kunisada on page 119 there is a description of a Kuniyoshi print which gives a succinct summary of the vendetta between the Ishii family and Fujikawa Mizuemon.

"The historical incident of revenge as described in the inscription occurred in 1701 in Kameyama in the province of Ise. Two brothers plotted over many years to avenge the deaths of their father and elder brother. Their father, Ishii Uemon, a fencing master in the Komoro clan of Shinshū Province, had upbraided a pupil for self-indulgent behavior, and was attacked and murdered in retaliation. The eldest son, Genzō, sough revenge but was instead himself murdered in a counterattack. For twenty-eight years the two younger brothers, Gennosuke and Hanjirō, plotted their revenge, and they finally achieved their objective and struck down their enemy.

Historical documents list the name of the actual enemy as Akabori Mizunosuke, not Fujikawa Mizuemon. Tsuruya Nanboku IV wrote several plays on this theme, including The Miraculous Kameyama Pike (Reigen Kameyama boko), also known as The Vendetta at Kameyama (Kameyama no adauchi). Mizuemon and Hyōsuke fight int he rain, but because Hyōsuke has been poisoned, he has no chance."

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Note that there is some confusion of which kabuki actor this is, Yonezō III or Yonezō IV. Kabuki21 gives the dates for Yonezō III as 1812 to 1866. Yonezō IV held this name until 1866. Fiorillo and Lühl state that Enjaku had a special relationship with Yonezō III and this print in the Lyon Collection represents that actor.


Ichikawa Yonezō IV (四代目市川米蔵) (actor)
Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (author)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (author)
Soga brothers (曾我兄弟) (author)