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Archive: Enjaku (猿雀)

(R) Nakamura Tamashichi I as Kanai Tanigorô; (C) Nakamura Kanjaku II as Uji no Josetsu; and (L) Kataoka Matsutarô I as musume [young girl] Onobu in Gotaiheiki shiroishi banashi,Tenma Theater, Osaka
No seals
No publisher mark
(H x W)
Deluxe chûban nishiki-e
24.5 x 17.4 cm
Excellent color; good condition (album backing; very slight soil on the two raised hands; two tiny insect tracks at upper right; trimmed to border on two sides; with metallic pigments and burnishing)
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: EJK01 


Gotaiheiki shiroishi banashi (Story of Shiroishi and the chronicles of peace) blended two dramas, one based on a failed rebellion in 1651 led by Yui Shôsetsu (1605-51) against the ten-year-old shogun Ietsuna, and the other a vendetta in 1723 carried on by two sisters for six years. Onobu and her courtesan sister, Miyagino of the Daikokuya in Shin Yoshiwara, vow to avenge their father's murderer, a village magistrate named Daishichi Shiga, whose villainy also caused their mother to die from grief. The brothel proprietor, Soroku, urges them to learn martial arts from Uji Jôsetsu (the theatrical stand-in for Yui Shôsetsu). Onobu studies fencing and changes her name to Shinobu. Aided by Jôsetsu, the sisters exact their revenge.

Enjaku's (active 1856-66) prints survive in very small numbers and are difficult to obtain. Although little known, he is arguably the most important transitional artist entering the last phase of printmaking in Osaka.

For more about this artist, see Enjaku Biography.


Our example is a deluxe edition (with extensive gold-color brass and copper pigments), privately issued without a publisher's mark, and is one of only a handful of recorded triple okubi-e ("large-head" or bust portraits) by the artist. Kanjaku's black robe glistens with a pattern of sparrows (suzume) among bamboo (take) made with a technique called shômen-zuri ("front rubbing," i.e., burnishing; also called tsuya-zuri or "shiny printing).

デラックス中判 (24.5 × 17.4cm)