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Archive: Hokushû 北洲 (Shunkô 春好)

Kataoka Nizaemon VII as Kusuhara Fuden in Ane imôto Date no ôkido, Kado Theater, Osaka
Shunkô ga
Toshin (利新)
2004 (after an ireki edition published in 1823)
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
40.8 x 27.0 cm
Excellent color and condition, with original certificate
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: (Ref #HKS37)


Ane imôto date no ôkido (姉妹達大礎), premiering in 1795, was a Kamigata adaptation of the Edo-based play Go taiheiki shiroishi banashi (Story of Shiraishi and the chronicles of peace: 碁太平記白石噺) of 1780. The Edo version was a mixture of 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. 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.

Shunko 1813 irekiDesign

The present design is a modern reproduction of the left hand-sheet of a diptych from an 1823 ireki edition (a design with block changes, lit., "inserting wood": 入木)—see image at far right. The ireki altered the blocks of an 1813 original (see image at immediate right). Note that the colors of the modern recut approximate an unfaded original and thus explain the chromatic differences with the partly faded 1823 example on this page.

In 2004, two master craftsmen, the horishi (block cutter) Kawashima Tatsuo and surishi (printer) Uesugi Takeshi, worked together to produce this high-quality reproduction, using as a guide the the ireki sheet in the collection of Kamigata Ukiyoe-Museum, which commissioned the work.

This print comes from a limited edition, sold with numbered certificate. Modern re-cuttings of early-period Osaka prints are almost non-existent; this might be the first example in 80 years, and as such, offers the opportunity to acquire an otherwise nearly impossible-to-find original in favor of a very well printed modern interpretation.

Note: We have more than one impression available.

References: IKBYS-I, no. 35; NKE, p. 135-136