Iwai Hanshiro V
Iwai Hanshiro V

Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)

Triptych of a moonlit scene at a sacred Shintō site from the play Yamatogana Heike monogatari [倭仮名平家物語] - Iwai Hanshirō V (岩井半四郎) on the left as Monomi no Omatsu (物見のお松); Segawa Kikunojō V (瀬川菊之丞) in the center; Matsumoto Kōshirō V (松本幸四郎) on the right


9.5 in x 14.25 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga
Publisher: Nishimuraya Yohachi
(Marks 391 - seal 01-008)
Censor's seal: kiwame
British Museum - left panel only The curatorial files at the British Museum say: "The kabuki actor Iwai Hanshiro V in the role of Monomi no Omatsu, emerging from a bamboo thicket at night, in the play ‘Yamatogana Heike monogatari’ (倭仮名平家物語) by Sakurada Jisuke II; performed at the Ichimura theatre in the 11th month of 1824 (Bunsei 7)."


The playwright Segawa Jokō II (二代目瀬川如皐 - 1757-1833) collaborated with two other playwrights, Sakurada Jisuke II (二代目桜田治助 - 1768-1829) and Tajima Kunosuke I, in composing this kaomise play which was first performed on 11/1824.

Source: Kabuki21.


The Yamatogana (倭仮名) from the title of the play is an interesting term. Literally it means a Japanese form of writing. How it fits into the title is unclear, but this is nothing new to so many translations of Japanese titles. Too much time has past since it was coined and the cultural references are often too vague. And yet it is there.

In a scholarly article, 'Remarks on Kaempferʼs Imatto Canna', by Kazuhiro Okada at Hokkaido University in 2019 it says in the abstract: ": Engelbert Kaempferʼs The History of Japan describes an unusual Japanese script, Imatto Canna. Although the term can be attested in Japanese literature as such, the Japanese use of the term (Yamatogana in modern orthography) is itself varied and does not superficially agree with Kaempferʼs"
Nishimuraya Yohachi (西村屋与八) (publisher)
Segawa Kikunojō V (五代目瀬川菊之丞: 11/1815 to 1/7/1832) (actor)
Matsumoto Kōshirō V (五代目松本幸四郎: 11/1801 to 5/1838) (actor)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
Iwai Hanshirō V (五代目岩井半四郎: 11/1804-11/1832) (actor)
Kabuki (歌舞伎) theater terms (genre)