Just across the canal from Osaka's Dôtonbori theater district was an area called Shimanouchi, the city's largest unofficial pleasure quarter. Shimanouchi hosted
an annual parade early each summer featuring waitresses, geisha, and courtesans dressed in costumes while performing skits or pantomimes about well-known figures from
contemporary society, theater, history, and legend. In this colorful pageant the women were accompanied by decorative floats carrying musicians and dancers.
Kunihiro, Shigeharu, and Yoshikuni all designed prints for this series. The year 1833 has been proposed by some for their publication, but Susumu Matsudaira assigns
a date of 1828 in the Ikeda Bunko catalog (see the IBKYS-II reference below). The large seal, its form so much like the oversized artist seals that were in vogue during this period,
may be an unidentified publisher's seal, as it appears on prints by all three artists.
Yûgao ("Evening Faces") refers to the fourth chapter of the late tenth-century literary classic Genji monogatari (Tale of Genji).
The crest (Genji-mon) associated with the chapter appears twice within a cartouche at the upper left. Many of the costumes and accessories in the parades
were elaborate conceits. Kiju's folding cypress fan (hiôgi) — a ceremonial form closely associated with the Heian-period court — includes
attached hanging vines topped with white flowers, a reference to the moonflowers called yûgao that bloom in the evening and are mentioned at the
beginning of the Genji chapter. The hiôgi also has a long red silk cord threaded through the blades with three bow-knots and terminating in
separated ends. Kiju's splendid kimono is decorated with dappled shibori shaped-resist dyeing technique, wagon wheels, and floral motifs, including morning glory (asagao)
and peony (botan).
References: IBKYS-II, no. 50; TWOP, cat. no. 232; OSP, nos. 261-264