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October Kyōgen at the Meiji-za, Akashi's Patronage

Kaidan Tsuki no Kasamori

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

October Kyōgen at the Meiji-za, Akashi's Patronage

by Utagawa Kunimasa IV, 1900

Kaidan tsuki

IHL Cat. #1040

About This Print

A triptych issued in October 1900 depicting thirty-four actors who will be performing during the October lineup of plays at the Meiji-za 明治座 (Meiji Theater) in Tokyo.  The actors, mostly part of the Ichikawa lineage, are participating in a kōjō 口上, a ceremony in which the actors present themselves to the audience. The ceremony may also include special announcements, such as an actor assuming a new stage name, or a first appearance on the stage, or memorial services.1  Given the reference  ("明石") in the title to the actor Nakamura Akashi V 中村明石 and his patronage ("引立" hikitate), one wonders whether Akashi commissioned this print, or, perhaps, is being honored by the management of the Meiji theater, for a special performance. The kabuki21 website notes that in September 1900 Akashi and Nakamura Kangorō XII, the two of them pictured seated and bowing on the bottom of the right sheet, performed the dance Sarukawa "one more time" at the Meiji-za, having performed it earlier in 1889.2  Perhaps this print relates to that performance?

Translations of the names of the actors shown in the yellow cartouches are given below.  A question mark following the name indicates some uncertainty in its translation.

At least one other state of this print is known in which the robes of the actors of the Ichikawa family have all been made the same color.  In this collection's state of the print, some of the Ichikawa actors wear robes with a dot pattern while the majority wear the more familiar brown robe.  It is likely that this collection's print is an earlier state than that of the one from the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, pictured below, and that the 2nd state of the print was made to correct the robes.

Another interesting aspect of this print is the presence of a second signature cartouche immediately to the right of the white cartouche containing the artist's signature.  The main signature cartouche reads Hōsai hitsu 豊斎筆, a gō of the artist Utagawa Kunimasa IV.  The light blue cartouche to its right reads 国章補画 and may, possibly, be translated as "assisted in drawing by Kuniaki."  If so, it is unclear who this Kuniaki might be, as the last artist to bear the Kuniaki name, Utagawa Kuniaki II, died in 1888.  Further research is required.

1 Kabuki The Popular Theater - Performing Arts of Japan: II, Yasuji Tokuta, Walker/Weatherhill, 1970, p. 99.

The Actors Pictured

For background, when known, on the actors named below see their respective entries in the article The Kabuki Actor on this site.

Right Sheet
(1st row from right to left)
< > 市川 左喜蔵 Ichikawa Sakizō (a disciple of Ichikawa Sadanji II)
< > 市川 左伊次 Ichikawa Saiji?
< > 市川 好太郎 Ichikawa Kōtarō?
< > 市川 延三郎 Ichikawa Enzaburō
<2> 関 歌助 Seki Utasuke

(2nd row from right to left)
< > 市川 莚女 Ichikawa Enjō
< > 市川 升若 Ichikawa Shōjaku (Ickikawa Sadanji)
<4> 沢村 源之助 Sawamura Gennosuke

(3rd row from right to left)
< > 市川 しやち丸 Ichikawa Shiyachimaru?
< > 市川 権三 Ichikawa Gonza?
<5> 市川 寿美蔵 Ichikawa Jiuyoshizō
< > 市川 団次郎 Ichikawa Danjirō

(4th row from right to left)
<12> 中村 勘五郎 Nakamura Kangorō (Nakamura Nakazō) http://www.kabuki21.com/nakazo4.php
<5> 中村 明石 Nakamura Akashi http://www.kabuki21.com/akashi.php

Center Sheet
(1st row from right to left)
<2> 市川 小半次 Ichikawa Kōhanji
< > 市川 左伊介 Ichikawa
< > 中村 翫太郎 Nakamura Kantarō
<3> 沢村 宇十郎 Sawamura Ujūrō http://www.kabuki21.com/ujuro.php

(2nd row from right to left)
< > 市川 米蔵 Ichikawa Yonezō
<2> 市川 ぼたん Ichikawa Botan
<1> 市川 荒次郎 Ichikawa Arajirō http://www.kabuki21.com/arajiro.php
< > 市川 左伝次 (市川左傅次) Ichikawa Sadenji

(3rd row from right to left)
<1> 市川 左団次 (左團次) Ichikawa Sadanji

Left Sheet
(1st row from right to left)
< > 中村 翫助 Nakamura Kansuke
< > 市川 蔦之助 Ichikawa Tsutanosuke
< > 市川 米三 Ichikawa Yonezō
< > 坂東 三津太郎 Bandō Mitsutarō?

(2nd row from right to left)
<2> 市川 福蔵 Ichikawa Fukuzō
< > 市川 九団次 Ichikawa Kudanji
<1> 中村 成太郎 Nakamura Naritarō?
<3> 沢村 訥升 Sawamura Tosshō http://www.kabuki21.com/tossho.php

(3rd row from right to left)
<2> 市川 権十郎 Ichikawa Gonjūrō
<3>? 市川 莚升 Ichikawa Enshō
<5> 市川 小団次 Ichikawa Kodanji

Another Impression/State

In this collection's print, shown on the left, a number of the Ichikawa family actors wear spotted robes.  On what I assume are later states of this print, such as the print shown on the right from the Tsubouchi Memorial Museum of Waseda University, all of the Ichikawa family actors wear brown robes.
click on image to enlarge

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1040
 Title (Description) Picture of the October Kyōgen at the Meiji-za, Akashi's Patronage 
 Artist Utagawa Kunimasa IV (1848-1920)
Left cartouche: Hōsai hitsu 豊斎筆
Right cartouche: Kuniaki hoga 国章補画 (assisted in drawing by Kuniaki)
 Seal Toshidama seal
 Publication Date October 1900 (Meiji 33)
Fukuda Hatsujirō 福田初二郎 [Marks: similar to seal 30-062; pub. ref. 070].  Publisher's telephone number is shown in the rectangular cartouche.
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition fair - almost full size; soiling; paper wrinkling; three sheets joined
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 14 5/8 x 28 5/8 in. (37.1 x 72.7 cm) 
 H x W Image 14 1/4 x 28 1/8 in. (36.2 x 71.4 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Tsubouchi Memorial Museum of Waseda University 120-0029, 0030 and 0031 and 120-0076, 0077 and 0078; Tokyo Metropolitan Library 5723-C6(1)(2)(3); Japan Arts Council 03132; Edo-Tokyo Museum 0230103, 104, 105