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Sadamasu 貞升 (later called Kunimasu 國升)

Ôkawa Hashizô I as Hirai Gonpachi in Sangoku daiichi nochi no kusemono, Kado no Shibai, Osaka
No artist seal
No publisher seal, but a companion sheet not offered here has the publisher-printer seal of Iida Kichi (飯田吉)
(H x W)
Deluxe chûban nishiki-e
25.0 x 18.8 cm
Excellent deluxe edition on thick paper with metallic pigments and embossing
Excellent color and very good condition (metallics, unbacked; minor soil in right margin and on chin and hand, uneven gold pigment on role name, album crease in wide left margin, faint glue residue upper right corner)
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: KMS21


The play Sangoku daiichi nochi no kusemono (三國大市川対恋) was one of many so-called Tenjiku Tokubei mono (plays about Tenjiku Tokubei: 天竺徳兵衛物) from the puppet and kabuki theaters. They featured adaptations of the Tenjiku Tokubei monogatari (The tale of Tokubei in India: 天竺徳兵衛物語) about a Korean-Japanese sailor who traveled far from Japan, a rare occurrence during the Tokugawa period. They were based on the historical Edo merchant seaman Takamatsu Tokubei who entered the port of Nagasaki on a Dutch vessel in 1633 with a record of his adventures. Playwrights transformed these accounts into fanciful tales of treason, including intrigues against Japan's ruler, Mashiba Hisayoshi (the historical Toyotomi Hideyoshi), by Yoshioka Sôkan (the Korean warrior Moku Sokan), whom Tokubei joins in attempts to assassinate Hisayoshi. The supernatural is also introduced in the guise of Tokubei's learning the art of toad sorcery, but his magical powers are ultimately broken and he is destroyed.

The play appears to conflate the jidaimono (lit., "period piece," or history play: 時代物) tales of Tokubei with those of Hirai Gonpachi (白井権八, but on Kunimasu's print written as 平井ごん八), hero of various sewamono ("everyday pieces" or domestic dramas: 世話物) with his lover Komurasaki (小紫), along with the otokodate (lit., "standing man," i.e., chivalrous commoner: 男伊達 or 男作) Banzuin Chôbei (幡随長兵衛). Although fictionalized Gonpachi-Komurasaki-mono (plays about Gonpachi and Komurasaki: 権八小紫物) derive from actual persons and events, there was apparently no actual historical connection between Gonpachi and Chôbei.


The samurai retainer Hirai Gonpachi is shown in a mie (dramatic pose: 見得) typical of Osaka okubi-e (lit., "large head" or close-up bust portraits: 大首絵). He grips the hilt of his sword, whose tsuba (sword or hand guard: 鍔 or 鐔) is printed with gold-color (copper-ruch) brass.

The printing is fine, as is the preservation of the purple and red colors.

References: IKBYS-III, no. 154; NKE, pp. 644-645