The actors Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII, Seki Sanjūrō III and Onoe Baikō IV (in a scene from "Hana to mimasu yayoi no hatsuyaku")

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The actors Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII, Seki Sanjūrō III

and Onoe Baikō IV

(in a scene from "Hana to mimasu yayoi no hatsuyaku")

by Utagawa Kunisada, 1853

The actors Bandō Takesaburō as Oguri Sōtan, Iwai Kumesaburō III as Okoma and Onoe Kikujirō II as Kohagi in the play Sekai no hana Oguri gaiden

IHL Cat. #1186

About This Print

The actors (right to left) Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII in the role of Shimanuki Yoso (島ぬけ与三), Seki Sanjūrō III in the role of Akama Genzaemon (赤間源左衛門) and Onoe Baikō IV in the role of the prostitute Otomi (愛妾おとみ).

While only the actor's roles are provided on the print (within the orange cartouches) the website of the Tokyo Metropolitan Library1 provides the actor's names.  The scene pictured in the print was likely from the play titled Hanato mimasu yayoi no hatsuyaku, which was part of a program of three pieces staged in the third lunar month of 1853 at Edo's Nakamura theater.  The signpost in the right panel reads on its right side 大当り/\, or "big hit, big hit!", and on its left 武熊ヶ谷領, possibly "musashino kumagatani ryō".2

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has the below Kabuki playbill (tsuji banzuke) in their collection, showing the three pieces being performed during the 3rd lunar month of 1853 at the Nakamura-za. 

Tsujibanzuke3 for the kabuki dramas “Hana to mimasu yayoi no hatsuyaku” and “Yowanasake ukina no yokogushi”,
and the Tokiwazu-style Jôruri piece titled“Shimameguri iro no Tametomo”,
staged at the Nakamura Theater (Edo)from the 9th day of the 3rd lunar month of Kaei 6 (1853).


The Actors Pictured in This Collection's Print

For profiles of the actors depicted in this print please see the article The Kabuki Actor.

1 Their print M141-20-19.
2 The actual second kanji character written on the signpost is:
3Tsuji banzuke are also called "below the turret banzuke" (櫓下番付), indicating that they developed from the placards placed in front of theatres to announce an on-going production. To the right is the title of the first piece on the program, while below the names of the actors and their characters run from right to left in order of importance. [source: Japanese Performing Arts Resource Center

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1186
 Title (Description) The Actors Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII as Shimanuki Yoso (島ぬけ与三), Seki Sanjūrō III as Akama Genzaemon (赤間源左衛門) and Onoe Baikō IV as the prostitute Otomi (愛妾おとみ).  (In a scene from "Hana to mimasu yayoi no hatsuyaku".)
 Series n/a
 Utagawa Kunisada I (1786–1865)
Toyokuni ga 豊国画 inside of Toshidama cartouche 年玉枠
 Publication Date
censor seals reading 米良 Mera (right)、渡邊 Watanabe (left)
丑三 dateseal, zodiac ox 3
shita-uri seal
March 1853
辻安 Tsujiyasu seal of the publisher 辻屋安兵衛 Tsujiya Yasubei [Marks pub. ref. 550; seal no. 25-418]

 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - light wrinkling throughout; some paper thinning verso from backing removal
 Genre ukiyo-eyakusha-e
 Format oban triptych
 H x W Paper 14 x 9 5/8 (35.6 x 24.4 cm) right sheet; 14 x 9 7/8 in. (35.6 x 25.1 cm) center sheet; 14 x 9 15/16 in. (35.6 x 25.2 cm) left sheet
 Collections This Print Tokyo Metropolitan Library M141-20-19; Waseda University Library 006-0573 (right panel only)

 Reference Literature