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Archive: Shigeharu (重春)

Arashi Rikan II as yakko (servant) Tomohei in Hikosan gongen chikai no sukedachi, Naka no Shibai, Osaka
Gyokuryûtei Shigeharu ga (玉柳亭重春画)
No artist seal
Tenki (Tenmaya Kihei: 天満屋喜兵衞)
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
38.0 x 25.5 cm
Very good
Excellent color and very good condition (unbacked; very faint album crease along right edge, small repair of lower left corner, slight paper flaw crossing Rikan's mouth)
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: SGH33


Hikosan gongen chikai no sukedachi (A vow to serve with a sword at Mt. Hiko Shrine: 彦山権現誓助剣) is an example of an adauchi mono (revenge tale: 仇打ち物). The main plot features Osono and Okiku, the daughters of Ichimisai, a fencing master assassinated by a wicked samurai named Kyôgoku no Takumi. Osono and Okiku vow to avenge their father's murder. Although Okiku is killed by Takumi, Osono continues with the vendetta. She disguises herself as a komusô (mendicant priest: 虚無僧), wearing a large sedge hat and carrying a shakuhachi (wooden flute: 尺八). Osono is one of the more intriguing and challenging roles in the kabuki repertory, as she is both very accomplished in the martial arts and a charming housewife. The actor playing this role must alter his posture, movement, voice, and demeanor when expressing the opposing natures of a single stage character.


Rikan performs the role of yakko (servant or footman: 奴) Tomohei, faithful servant of Ichimisai, who was to accompany and protect Okiku during her quest to find her father's killer. Tragically, it was during a brief time when Tomohei was separated from her that Okiku is killed by Takumi. Tomohei searches for and finds Osono and gives her Okiku's little son. Then, standing under a trellis with flowering hyôtan (gourd: 瓢簞), he is overcome with remorse and takes his own life for having abandoned Okiku. Later in the action, Osono and her husband Keyamura Rokusuke, a disciple of her father, exact their revenge against Takumi.

This is a rare design with very well preserved colors.

References: PPO, p. 142, no. 59