Jitsugetsusei kyōwa seidan


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Jitsugetsusei Kyōwa Seidan

by Adachi Ginkō, 1878

IHL Cat. #716

About This Print

While the play's title is not shown in the print, the actors (right to left), Ichikawa Sadanji, Onoe Kikugorō [V], Iwai Hanshirō [VIII] and Nakamura Nakazō [III] are portraying characters in the play Jitsugetsusei kyōwa Seidan written in 1876 by Kawatake Mokuami1 (Kawatake Shinshichi II, 1816–1893).

The play is based on the Kyōwa era (1801-1804) incident known as the Enmeiin Affair, in which Nichido "an actor-turned-priest used a secret chamber at the Nichiren temple Enmeiin to seduce a number of leading ladies from the shogun’s house."2 

Nichido was first an actor but became the superior of Enmeiin, a temple of the Nichiren sect in Yanaka, and, with the aid of the priestling Ryuzen, enticed women thither, making the place a den of immorality, visited even by ladies-in-waiting at the Court.  That priests should break their vows of chastity was so common that no one gave it a second thought, but when we have a man who turned priest from actor and alluring women to his temple for immoral purposes, it throws a glaring light on the moral degradation of the age.3

Nichido was later executed “as much on account of the links with the shogun’s household as of his moral shortcoming."4

About The Play
For a complete summary of this play, please visit the Kabuki21 website: http://www.kabuki21.com/enmeiin_nitto.php

The Actors and the Roles - some confusion
In this collection's print (right to left, as written in the cartouches) Ichikawa Sadanji 市川左團次 plays the role of the thief Nomura Kuranoshin 野邑内藏進; Onoe Kikugorō 尾上菊五郎 plays the role of Enmeiin Nittō 延妙院日当; Iwai Hanshirō 岩井半四郎 plays the role of Daughter Okuro 娘おころ; and Nakamura Nakazō 中村仲蔵 plays the role of Nassho Ryūzen 納所柳全. 

However, the cartouches in the right panel of the prints in the collections of the both the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University and the Art Research Center (ARC) of Ritsumeikan University, show Ichikawa Danjūrō [IX] 市川 団十郎 playing the role of Sasagawa Kōjūrō 笹川幸十郎 rather than Ichikawa Sadanji 市川左團次 in the role of Nomura Kuranoshin 野邑内藏進

It is unclear why the right panel was changed, unless the roles of the actors were changed during the play.  

The right panel of this collection's print showing the actor
Ichikawa Sadanji 市川左團次 in the role of
Nomura Kuranoshin
 The right panel of the prints in the collections of both the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of
Waseda University and the ARC showing
Ichikawa Danjūrō 市川団十郎 in the role of
Sasakawa Kōjūrō 笹川幸十郎

For information on the actors pictured see the article The Kabuki Actor on this site.

1 Kawatake Shinshichi II takes the name of Kawatake Mokuami in November 1881 [Source: Kabuki 21 website http://www.kabuki21.com/mokuami1.php]
2 Creating a Public: People and Press in Meiji Japan, James. L. Huffman, University of Hawaii Press, 1997, p. 23.
3  The Economic Aspects of the History of the Civilization of Japan – Volume 3, Yosaburō Takekoshi, originally 1930 and republished 2004, Routledge, p. 173.
4 op. cit., Huffman.

A Guess - The Enmeiin Affair and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet

For those of you who have read David Mitchell's 2011 novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet, you will recall the debauched character Abbot Enomoto and the terrible acts committed by his "engifters" on the women held captive at the "House of Sisters."  It occurs to me that the character Abbot Enomoto and the debauchery at his temple, are derived from the above historical incident.  Comments?

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Untitled, but the characters depicted are from the play Jitsugetsusei kyōwa seidan 日月星享和政談 (Disquisition on the political affair of the Kyōwa era)
 Artist  Adachi Ginkō (active 1874 – 1897)
Adachi Ginkō ga 安達吟光 画 with unread artist's seal
 Seal  unread artist's seal as shown above
 Publication Date
October 8, 1878 (Meiji 11)
Kobayashi Tsunekichi 小林常吉 [Marks: seal not shown; pub. ref. 259]
Center cartouche: 出板人 publisher
    left column - 小林常吉 Kobayashi Tsunekichi;
    right column - publisher's address reading Hatchōbori     Mizutanichō 4-banchi
Right cartouche: 画工 artist
    left column -t 安達平七 Adachi Heishichi [Adachi Ginkō's     birth name];
    right column - artist's address
Left cartouche: 定價六戔 price 6 sen   
 not given
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - not backed; margins mostly trimmed to image; minor soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Miscellaneous embossing throughout priest's robe in left panel
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper
 13 3/4 x 9 1/4 in. (34.9 x 23.5 cm)
 H x W Image 
 Reference Literature

 Collections This Print
Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University arcUP4441, 4442, 4443 and arcUP5132, 5133 and 1534; Waseda University Library 201-2715 (right panel) and 201-2618 (center panel)
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