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Archive: Hokuei (北英)

Arashi Rikan II as Ningyôya Kôuemon in Ehon Tengajayamura at the Naka no Shibai, Osaka
Shunbaisai Hokuei ga (春梅斎北英画)
No artist seal
Honsei (Honya Seichichi)
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
37.4 x 25.8 cm
Very good
Excellent color and very good condition, unbacked; blue marks and rubbing LR corner, (white spots along upper edge never inked)
Price (USD/¥):

Ehon Tengajayamura (Picture book of the gathering at Tengajaya: 絵本殿下茶屋聚) is a dramatization of the actual events. Adapted from Katakiuchi Tengajayamura (Revenge at Tengajayamura: 敵討殿下茶屋聚) at the Kado no Shibai, Osaka in 1781, a popular jidaimono ("period piece" or history play: 時代物) in Osaka, the plots of both plays were based on events from 1609 when the samurai Hayashi Genzaburô (renamed Hayase Genjirô for censorship reasons) took revenge upon Tôma Saburôemon, the murderer of his father (renamed Hayase Genba) and elder brother (Hayase Iori) at Tengajaya (Dengachaya) village near Osaka. The play is sometimes read as Ehon Dengachaya mura.

Hayase Genba, a retainer for the Ukita clan and father of Genjirô and his brother Iori, has been killed by Toma, a skilled swordsman. The brothers begin to track down Tôma, but they encounter obstacles complicated by their search for an heirloom painting (in other adaptations, it is a poem card). They are betrayed by their servant Adachi Genemon (also read as Motoemon), who steals money (raised by Iori's wife, Somenoi, who sells herself to a brothel to buy the painting) and a sword from Genjirô, which he uses to kill another Hayase servant and injure Iori. Later, Genemon joins up with Tôma and his servant Udesuke. In the woods near the Fukushima Tenjin Shrine, they attack Iori, who despite his wounds, summons the strength to slash Tôma on the arm. In the end, however, Iori is slain by Genemon and Udesuke.

Upon finding his brother Iori's body, the grief-stricken Genjirô must be stopped from drowning himself. Help finally arrives in the person of Ningyôya Kôuemon, once in the service of Hayase Genba. He secures the painting and buys out Somenoi's brothel contract, whereupon he, Somenoi, Genjirô, and Hazue (Genjirô's wife) all journey to the Dengachaya. They first obtain permission from the local authorities to execute their vendetta, and then murder Tôma and Genemon.


Rikan II strikes a pose by a river as he portrays one of the heroes of the play, Ningyôya Kôuemon, once a loyal follower of the murdered Hayase Genba. He is dressed for a journey and carries a large sedge hat. The colors on this impression are especially well preserved.

References: IKBYS-II, no. 294; IBK-I, no. 2-426; KNP-6, p. 254