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Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Suhama Sōzu in the play Jayanagi from the series The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Jūhachiban)

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Hanakawa Toagemaki no Sukeroku in the play Sukeroku from the series The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Jūhachiban)

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Suhama Sōzu

in the play Jayanagi from the series

The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Jūhachiban)

by Torii Kiyosada and Torii Kiyotada VII, 1896

Torii Kiyotada VII (1875-1941)

IHL Cat. #992

About This Print

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX, in the lower left panel, playing the role of the spirit of the willow tree Suhama Sōzu in the kabuki play Jayanagi 蛇柳.  Above his likeness is an unidentified actor in the role of (Kongō) Kūkai (空海 as seen on the purple robe), who is known by his posthumous name Kōbō Daishi. The Ichikawa family crest (mon) of nested squares is shown to the left of Danjūrō, beneath which appears 九世市川団十郎 (9th Generation, Ichikawa Danjūrō) and the character played 須宝僧都 (Suhama Sōzu.)

While not visible in the above scan of this print, this print, as with others in the series, displays deluxe printing techniques, including embossing covering most of the prints background (a section of which can be seen under "Print Details, Signature" below) and the use of subtle patterns on the robes of Suhama Sōzu and (Kongō) Kūkai, visible only when held up to the light at a certain angle, as shown below.


click on image to enlarge

The Play Jayanagi (The Snake Willow)

Source: Kabuki Eighteen Traditional Dramas, Kawatake Toshio, Chronicle Books, 1985, p. 64.
"This play was written by Kanai Sanshō and was first performed in 1763 at the Nakamura-za in Edo as the third act of the drama called 'Momochidori Ōisogayoi' with Ichikawa Danjūrō IV.

Tanba no Suketarō, a village idiot is possessed by the angry spirit of a willow tree on Mt. Kōya (Kii Peninsula) and displays vehement jealousy.  The text of this drama was lost so another theory is that Suketarō was possessed by the angry ghost of Kiyohime who was spurned by her lover, a Buddhist monk.

In 1947 Ichikawa Sanshō (Danjūrō X) and Kawajiri Seitan revived this act leaving in the spirit of a willow tree but adding the character of the famous Heike general, Kagekiyo."

The Kabuki Eighteen

Source: Kabuki Encyclopedia, An English-Language Adaption of Kabuki Jiten, Samuel L. Leiter, Greenwood Press, 1979, p. 152.
"The Kabuki Eighteen," a collection of plays established by Ichikawa Danjūrō VII, stresses the special aragoto acting art of the Danjūrō line.  In the Meiji period other acting families began to gather their most successful plays into similar collections.  See the Title Page from the series The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Juhachiban) for a list of the plays.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Suhama Sōzu in the play Jayanagi
 九卋市川団十郎 須宝僧都 蛇柳
 Series The Kabuki Eighteen (Kabuki Jūhachiban) 
 Artist Torii Kiyosada (1844-1901) and Torii Kiyotada VII (1875-1941)
right-most signature: Torii Kiyosada ga 鳥居清貞画 followed by 清貞Kiyosada seal
left-most signature: Tadakiyo hitsu 忠清筆 followed by Tadakiyo seal
 Seal as shown above: 清貞 Kiyosada seal right, beneath signature; Tadakiyo seal left, beneath signature
 Publication Date January 20, 1896 (Meiji 29) 明治二十九年一月二十日
長谷川寿美 Hasegawa Sumi (appearing in left margin) [Marks: seal 25-406 長谷川寿美; publisher ref. 102]
address: Tokyo Asakusa Imadochō 59-banchi
彫工弥太 Horikō Yata (cartouche appearing at bottom of left margin)
 Printer 楷工大亀 Surikō Ōkame (see above cartouche)
 Impression good (minor mis-registration with embossed background)
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - not backed; light toning and soiling; minor handling creases  
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e (役者絵)
 Miscellaneous embossing throughout 
 Format vertical oban 
 H x W Paper 
 15 1/4 x 10 3/4 in. (38.7 x 27.3 cm) 

 Collections This Print
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston RES.53.13; Tokyo Metropolitan Library 5721-C008-18; Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-0140 and 201-0164 and 201-1050; Edo Tokyo Museum 94202528