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The Heroine Toragozen in Soga from Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The Heroine Toragozen in Soga

from Woodblock Print Supplements

to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu

by Ishikawa Toraji, 1922-1923

Ishikawa Toraji (1875-1964)

IHL Cat. #133

About This Print

One of 18 prints published from 1922 to 1923 as part of the celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the death of Chikamatsu Manzaemon (1623-1724), perhaps the greatest dramatist in the history of the Japanese theater. Each design illustrates a scene or character from one of Chikamatsu’s famous works.  For more details on this series go to Supplements of the Complete Works of Chikamatsu Manzaemon.

The Story of Yotsugi Soga (The Soga Heir)

Source: The Major Plays of Chikamatsu, translated by Donald Keene, Columbia University Press, 1961, p. 4.
Chikamatsu’s career as a dramatist probably began in 1683 when, at the age of thirty, he wrote the puppet play The Soga Successors for the chanter Uji Kaga-no-jo. The Soga Successors (Yotsugi Soga) was highly acclaimed, and the great chanter Takemoto Gidayu (1651-1714) used it to open his theater in Osaka in 1684.

Source: City of Amagasaki website devoted to Chikamtasu http://www.city.amagasaki.hyogo.jp/tikamatu/english/C2_p1.html
The Soga brothers take revenge on their father's enemy, Kudo Suketsune. However, the older brother, Juro, dies in the fighting, and the younger one, Goro, receives the death sentence after being treated like an animal at a hunting site by Shingai no Arashiro and Arai Toda. Asahina no Saburo, a relative of the Soga Family, becomes enraged by this and tells the retainers of the Soga, Onio and Dozaburo brothers to avenge their lord by killing these men. Onio, Dozaburo, Tora (the lover of Juro) and Shosho (the lover of Goro) kill Arashiro and Toda with the support of Asahina no Saburo. Juro's son Sukewaka was made the lord of the province of the Soga family which is controlled by Minamoto no Yoritomo (the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate), and becomes the Soga Family heir.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #133
 Title or Description The Heroine Toragozen in Soga
 “Soga” no Toragozen「曾我」の虎御前
 Series  Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu
  Dai Chikamatsu zenshu furoku mokuhan 大近松全集 付録木版
 Ishikawa Toraji (1875-1964)
 not signed
寅 tora seal

 Publication Date between 1922-1923
 Edition likely first edition, but the number of editions issued is unknown
 Publisher  Dai Chikamatsu zenshū kankōkai 大近松全集刊行会 (the Complete Work of Chikamatsu Publishing Association)
 Carver Yamagishi Kazue 1893-1996
 Printer Nishimura Kumakichi
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Miscellaneous all prints from this series printed on a light tan-colored paper
 Genre shin hanga (new prints)
 Format dai-oban
 H x W Paper 11 1/2 x 17 1/2 in. (29.2 x 44.5 cm)
 H x W Image 8 3/4 x 14 7/8 in. (22.2 x 37.8 cm) measurement includes gray border
 Collections This Print The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-0379, 201-0382 and 201-0383
 Reference Literature The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties, Amy Riegle Newland and Hamanaka Shinji, Abe Publishing Ltd and Hotei Publishing, 2000, p. 203, pl. 7