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Ashiyuki (芦幸)

Arashi Kitsusaburô II (嵐橘三郎) shopping for an uchiwa (rigid fan: 團扇 or 団扇)
Gigadô Ashiyuki ga (戯画堂芦ゆき画)
Ashiyuki (芦幸)?
No publisher seal
circa summer 1827
(H x W)
Chûban nishiki-e
25.6 x 20.0 (top) and 19.6 (bottom) cm
Excellent deluxe (surimono-style) edition with metallics and embossing
Excellent color and overall condition, thick paper unbacked; reinforced thinned areas upper margin and LR corner, stray pigment below fan stand
Price (USD/¥):
$750 / To pay in yen, contact us.

Order/Inquiry (Ref #ASY44)


Arashi Kitsusaburô II (嵐橘三郎), whose previous stage name was Arashi Tokusaburô II (嵐徳三郎 until 8/1822), is best known as Arashi Rikan II (嵐璃寛), the name he used from 8/1828 unitl his death in 6/1837. He was a principal actor in Kamigata (Kyoto-Osaka region) and a stage rival of the great Nakamura Utaemon III. Riakn achieved consistently high rankings in the hyôbanki (actor critiques: 評判記), ranging from jô-jô-kichi (superior-superior-excellent: 上上吉) in 1/1829 to dai-jô-jô-kichi (grand-superior-superior-excellent: 大上上吉) in 1/1837. Although small in stature, Rikan II was blessed with a striking appearance, most notably his large, expressive eyes — his nickname was Metoku ("powerful or beautiful eyes": 目徳), as is evident in the hundreds of portrayals of the actor by many artists. He was not an especially skilled dancer, but instead succeeded in a wide assortment of dramatic roles, especially those highlighting tachiyaku (leading male characters: 立役). These can be found in the two primary kabuki genres — jidaimono (history plays: 時代物) and sewamono (domestic dramas: 世話物).


Portrayals of actors in private life are a relative rarity in ukiyo-e, and even more so in Osaka prints and paintings. Ashiyuki's design provides an uncommon glimpse into the off-stage activities of one of Osaka's pop-culture icons — Arashi Kitsusaburô II, who is shown reaching for an uchiwa (rigid fan: 團扇 or 団扇) emblazoned with the name in blue of the eminent actor Ichikawa Ebijûrô I (市川鰕十郎). It is accompanied by a red mimasu mon (three rice-measures, i.e., the three-concentric-box crest used by the Ichikawa lineage, 三舛). Just below is a second uchiwa on which is painted a tachibana (mandarin orange: 橘), the crest of the Arashi line of actors. To its right, a third fan is patterned with a stylized kashiwa (three oak leaves, 柏) in blue.

The Waseda catalog (See WAS below) gives the following for the poem, which is signed "Rikaku" (璃珏), one of Arashi Rikan II's poetry names: Rô misaki ya /sakura ni samuki / asa hora ke (涼岬や桜にさむき朝ほらけ), which might be translated (roughly) as Coolness at Misaki / cherry blossoms / in the morning.


This impression is from the famed Haber Collection, New York although it is not illustrated in Schwaab, Osaka Prints (1989).

References: WAS-IV, no. 370