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Sadakazu (貞一) and Umekuni (梅國)

Description:
(R) Nakamura Sankô I as Hatsuhana and (L) Nakamura Shikan II as Iinuma Katsugorô in Hakone reigen izari no adauchi at the Naka no Shibai, Osaka
Signature:
(R) Issinsai Sadakazu; (L) Toyokawa Umekuni
Seals:
Artist seals: (R) Sadakazu; (L) Mimasu seal
Publisher:
Iden (Izutsuya Denbei) and Tenki (Tenmaya Kihei)
Date:
9/1826
Format:
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
39.0 x 54.0 cm
Impression:
Excellent
Condition:
Very good color and condition, unbacked; minor rubbing, paper flaw near signpost on L  sheet
Price (USD/¥):
SOLD

Inquiry: SKZ01

Comments:
Background:

Hakone reigen izari no adauchi (Miracle of the deity at Hakone, the cripple's revenge: 箱根霊験躄仇討) is an adauchi mono (revenge play: 仇打ち物), also called adauchi kyôgen (仇打ち狂言) and katakiuchi mono (revenge-killing plays: 敵討物(敵討物). Tales of samurai vendettas had been in vogue since the Genroku period (1688-1704) in books and plays, as readers and audiences followed aggrieved heroes or their families seeking revenge against villains who had slain the innocent. This subgenre of kabuki and puppet plays epitomized the portrayal of evil on the treatrical stage, reflecting a growing fascination of Kasei-period (1804-1830) popular culture with unfettered cruelty and cynicism.

Hakone reigen izari no adauchi, a twelve-act adauchi mono performed at least as early as 8/1801 for the ningyô jôruri (puppet threater: 淨瑠璃 or bunraku, 文楽) and 9/1801 for kabuki (at the Kitagawa no Shibai, Kyoto), was based on actual events surrounding a revenge killing in 1590 when Iinuma Hatsugorô dispatched Katô Kosuke for murdering his elder brother. The dramatized version tells of the revenge sought by the samurai Iinuma Katsugorô for the murder of his brother Iinuma Mihara by the villain Satô Gôsuke. Katsugorô and his wife Hatsuhana disguise themselves as beggars and set forth on their vendetta. Later, Katsugorô suffers an illness that cripples his legs; he has to be pulled around in a cart by his faithful wife. They encounter Gôsuke in Hakone, but crippled, Katsugorô can only watch helplessly as the villain kidnaps Hatsuhana and drags her off to Odawara, where he intends to seduce her. At the Hakone no Gongen (箱根権現) shrine, known for its miraculous cures, it appears that Hatsuhana has escaped and returned to pray underneath the Tonozawa Waterfall, whereupon Katsugorô is miraculously cured. Actually, Hatsuhana had been murdered by Gôsuke, and it was her ghost at the waterfall. Finally, Katsugorô and his wife's brother Fudesuke slay Gôsuke.

Design:

Here we have the poignant portrayal of Hatsuhana pulling her crippled husband on a cart. This diptych is a gassaku (collaborative print: 合作), a print designed by two or more artists, in this case Sadakazu for the right sheet and Umekuni for the left sheet.

Works by Sadakazu are extremely rare. Working around 1826, he might have been a pupil of Yoshikuni. Besides the geimei (art name: 芸名) Issinsai, he also used Kudaradô and possibly Shinsai.

References: HSK, no. 116; SDK, no. 39; NKE, p. 146