The Heroine Koman in Tanba Yosaku from Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu

Onoe Kikugorō VI in the role of Jūjirō

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

The Heroine Koman in

Tanba Yosaku matsuyo no Kurmurobushi

from Woodblock Print Supplements to the

Complete Works of Chikamatsu

by Yamamura Toyonari, 1922-1923

IHL Cat. #183

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 Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu.

The Play Depicted in the Print -The Story of Yosaku from Tamba 

Source: The Major Plays of Chikamatsu, translated by Donald Keene, Columbia University Press, 1961, p. 22-23.
Yosaku is a samurai reduced to working as a horse driver because of his offenses in the past.  He has betrayed his wife, failed to repay his master’s kindness, and abandoned his child.  We learn that he gambles and has recently lost at a game in which the stake was a horse belonging to another man.  In order to raise some money, Yosaku persuades the boy Sankichi to steal.  When Koman, the courtesan who is Yosaku’s sweetheart, protests, Yosaku answers, “You’re too timid.  If the kid is caught, the worst he’ll get is a spanking.”  Sankichi is in fact caught, and eventually condemned to be executed.  Yosaku and Koman, overcome with remorse, decide they must kill themselves.  On their journey to death Yosaku emerges as a tragic figure, and his transgressions, though not forgiven, seem to have made possible at last the flowering of his true nature.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #183
 Title or Description The Heroine Koman from Seki (Seki no Koman), in "Tanba Yosaku matsuyo no Komurobushi"
 "Tanba yosaku matsuyo no Kumurobushi" no Seki no Koman
 Series Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu
  Dai Chikamatsu zenshu furoku mokuhan 大近松全集 付録木版
 Yamamura Toyonari (1885-1942)
耕花 Kōka
 Seal 豊成 Toyonari
 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 good - two spots of foxing
 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 18 5/8 x 11 1/2 in. (47.3 x 29.2 cm)
 H x W Image 15 1/4 x 10 5/8 in. (38.7 x 27 cm)
 Collections This Print The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-0375 and 201-0376
 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. 89, pl. 112