The dance "Michiyuki tabiji no hanamuko" an interact in the play "Kanadehon Chūshingura"

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The dance "Michiyuki tabiji no hanamuko" an interact in the play Kanadehon Chūshingura

by Utagawa Kunisada, 1857

IHL Cat. #515
Act VII: The Ichiriki Teahouse from the series Pictorial Siblings to The Treasury of Loyal Retainers

About This Print

Sources: Multiple sources including and information supplied by Guy Peppermans and Horst Graebner on the Ukiyo-e Q&A website and the Ritsumeikan University ARC database

This print is one panel of a triptych (see below) depicting the three main characters Okaru, Kampei and Bannai in the interact hengemono (multi-role dance) Michiyuki tabiji no hanamuko (Ochiudo) (“The Fugitives”.)   This dance was staged after Act IV, scene 2, Uramon (“The Rear Gate of the Mansion”) of the kabuki play Kanadehon Chūshingura (仮名手本忠臣蔵) ("The Treasury of Loyal Retainers.")   As detailed below, the actors pictured are Nakamura Fukusuke I 中村 福助 (playing the character Koshi hajime Okaru  こし元おかる); Bandō Mitsugorō VI 坂東 三津五郎; Ichikawa Ichizô III 市川 市蔵 and Nakamura Kantarō I 中村 翫太郎.

The performance date for this piece was the 13th day of the 10th month, Ansei 4 (1857) and it was staged at the Morita-za.

Still to be determined is the relevance of some of the inset characters shown in the print to either the dance or the play.

To read more about the representations of Chūshingura in woodblock prints see the article on this site Chūshingura (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers) in Woodblock Prints.

Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University Data

Entertainment name: 仮名手本忠臣蔵 kanadehon chuushingura
Play cycle: 一番目 二番目大切
Played title: 仮名手本忠臣蔵 けいせゐ返魂香 kanadehonchuushingura keiseihangonkou
Performed Title: 道行 旅路の花婿 採筆恵の大津絵 michiyukitabijinohanamuko fudetoritemeguminoootsue
Performance Title: 仮名手本忠臣蔵 けいせゐ返魂香 道行 旅路の花婿 採筆恵の大津絵 仮名手本忠臣蔵 kanadehonchuushingura keiseihangonkou michiyukitabijinohanamuko fudetoritemeguminoootsue kanadehonchuushingura
Actor: こし元おかる koshi hajime o karu <1> 中村 福助 nakamura fukusuke

Interact, Michiyuki tabiji no hanamuko (Ochiudo) (“The Fugitives”) 

This michiyuki or “travel-dance” was added to the play in 1833 and is very often performed separately. The dance depicts the lovers Okaru and Kanpei journeying to the home of Okaru’s parents in the country after Hangan’s death. Kanpei was the retainer who accompanied Hangan to the shogun’s mansion and he is now guilt ridden at his failure to protect his lord. He would take his own life to atone for his sin, but Okaru persuades him to wait. The couple are waylaid by the comical Sagisaki Bannai and his foolish men. They are working for Lord Moronō but Kanpei easily defeats them and they continue on their way.

Nakamura Fukusuke I as
Koshihajime Okaru (こし元おかる)
Nakamura Fukusuke I as Fukurokuju

Bandō Mitsugorō VI as Masarukoku
(Source: Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University)

Ichikawa Ichizô III  as Hayano Kampei

Nakamura Fukusuke I as Hisago tan saru (瓢たん 猿)
Nakamura Fukusuke I as Fuji Musume

Nakamura Kantarō I, as Sagisaka Bannai (鷺坂伴内)
Nakamura Fukusuke I as Okonai retsu Yakko  行れつ奴 (left top)
Nakamura Fukusuke I as Sendou (船頭)

Daikoku and Fukuroku Appear Again
In the same month the above print was published 1857 10th month (Ansei 4), Daikoku and Fukuroku appeared again in the below Kunisada print Ōtsu-e shosa no uchi – Daikoku, Fukuroku, showing Daikoku on a ladder shaving the top of Fukuroku's head. 

The UCSF Japanese Woodblock Print Collection

Utagawa, Toyokuni III, 1786-1865, Artist

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #515
 Title The dance Michiyuki tabiji no hanamuko, an interact in the play Kanadehon Chūshingura
こし元おかる koshi hajime o karu
福ろくfuku ro ku
大こくmasaru koku
 Utagawa Kunisada I (1786–1865)
 Toyokuni ga 豊国画 within Toshidama cartouche 年玉枠
 Seal oblong date seal reading date seal reading 1857 10th month (Ansei 4) and round 'aratame' seal (改 'aratame' or 'approved')
 Publication Date
1857 10th month (Ansei 4)  改 巳十
Sagamiya Tōkichi, seal name 'Aito' 下谷 相ト
 Impression excellent
 Colors good
 Condition fair - slightly rubbed and soiled; minor color fading; minor marks and flaws
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Format oban
 H x W Paper 14 5/8 x 9 3/4 (37.1 x 24.8 cm)
 Collections This Print Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University UP1948

 Reference Literature