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Archive: Ashiyuki (芦幸)

(R) Mimasu Matsugorô II as Yokudobo and (L) Arashi Kitsusaburô II as Miyagi Asojirô in Keisei tsukushi no tsumagoto at the Naka no Shibai, Osaka
Ashiyuki ga
No artist seal
Wataya Kihei
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
37.6 x 25.9 cm
Excellent color; very lightly backed, rose color slightly faded on Kitsusaburo's right sleeve, stray ink speck to left of his head
Price (USD/¥):

Keisei tsukushi no tsumagoto ("A courtesan playing the Tsukushi koto") is an adaptation of one of the better known versions of this story (in addition to an early illustrated book) — the play Shôutsushi asagao nikki ("Recreating the true diary of morning glory") by Chikamatsu Tokusô in 1812. The tale features the love between Miyagi Asojirô and Akizuki Miyuki, daughter of a wealthy samurai, who first meet while enjoying an outing in pleasure boats on the Uji River, a popular location for hunting fireflies. They are immediately smitten with one another and exchange vows, but afterwards a misunderstanding leads Miyuki to believe that her father will force her to marry someone else. Unknown to her, it is actually Asojirô using an alternate name. To keep her pledge to Asojirô, she runs away and assumes the name Asagao ("Morning Glory," a reminder of a poem Asojirô had written for her). After months pass, Miyuki loses her sight from endless grieving, barely supporting herself by playing the koto (a horizontal harp with movable frets: 琴). Coincidentally, Asojirô then discovers her at an inn, but he cannot remain, as he must quickly depart on business for his lord. He leaves medicine to treat her blindness, but it is only after her near suicide over separating once again from Asojirô that Miyuki takes the palliative and restores her sight.


Ashiyuki has depicted a tachimawari (Lit., "standing and going around": 立回り), a choreographed fight scene in kabuki. The colors in this impression are nicely preserved.

References: IKBYS-I, no. 222; NKE, p. 603