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Archive: Sadamasu 貞升 (later called Kunimasu 國升)

Nakamura Utaemon IV as Ono Sadakurô in the play Kanadehon chûshingura (Writing manual for the treasury of the loyal retainers:假名手本忠臣蔵 ), Naka Theater, Osaka
Gochôtei Sadamasu ga
Block carver: Ono horu; Printer: Awatoyo suru
Honya Seishichi (seal: Honsei)
(H x W)
38.0 x 25.5 cm
Very good
Good color and condition (deluxe edition with metallics and embossing; unbacked; slight soiling, small paper flaw in smoke)
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: KMS16


Kanadehon chûshingura (Copybook of the Treasury of Loyal Retainers: 假名手本忠臣蔵; often called The Forty-seven Rônin) was a perennial favorite in the kabuki theater and is still performed today. In Act V, the disgraced rônin Kanpei has become a hunter. He has heard rumors that 40 or so of the rônin who once served Enya Hangan are conspiring to take revenge upon Kô no Moronao, the villain who maneuvered to force Enya into ritual suicide. Kampei resolves to acquire funds to donate towards a memorial to Enya, really a ruse to finance the vendetta. Later, during a storm, an old man bearing 50 gold coins (ryô: 両) travels along a road, earned by selling his daughter (Kanpei's wife) to a brothel. He is accosted and then killed by Sadakurô the highwayman. Just as Sadakurô has hidden the body, he is accidentally shot by Kampei, who is hunting a boar. Kanpei does not recognize the body in the dark, but takes the money as a serendiptious gift and hurries home with the money to find the other rônin.

This is one of Sadamasu's most dramatic designs, published for a performance of Kabuki's most famous play.