Arashi Kichisaburo III (嵐吉三郎) as Asahina Tōbei (朝比奈藤兵衛) from the series <i>Seven Calligraphic Models for Each Character in the Kana Syllabary</i> (Nanatsu iroha - 七ツいろは) - the syllable <i>te</i> (て)

Utagawa Kunikazu (歌川国員) (artist )

Arashi Kichisaburo III (嵐吉三郎) as Asahina Tōbei (朝比奈藤兵衛) from the series Seven Calligraphic Models for Each Character in the Kana Syllabary (Nanatsu iroha - 七ツいろは) - the syllable te (て)


7 in x 9.5 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Kunikazu
Publisher: Ishikawa Wasuke (Marks 163 - seal 25-343)

Ritsumeikan University
Philadelphia Museum of Art

From the play Goku Saishiki Musume Ogi. The characters are in brass and the rain is silver.


Asahina Tōbei was an otokodate or chivalrous commoner who, despite the swagger, was a defender of the little man. His type was very popular in the puppet and kabuki theaters.


In a special 2006 edition of Andon John Fiorillo and Hendrik Lühl wrote about the series that this print appears to belong to. "The next two illustrations are from the shared Enjaku-Kunikazu-Yoshitaki series Nanatsu iroha (Seven syllables of the Japanese alphabet), published by Ishiwa. This deluxe-edition set was issued for various performances circa 1857-1865, plus a few mitate ('view and compare', or analogue pictures) for imaginary productions with casts of actors who never actually performed together at the time. Each design included seven different ideograms or kanji pronounced the same, either matching the pronunciation of the first character of the actor's role or suggesting an alternate association, as in the depiction of Yasuna... All the designs include a hand scroll at the top with the actor's name (if included), play title, and the series title. Enjaku's signatures are placed in either the scroll or the background behind the actors."

Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (genre)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
Ishikawaya Wasuke (石川屋和助) (publisher)
Arashi Kichisaburō III 三代目嵐吉三郎 (actor)