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Archive: Yoshikuni (芳國)

Hyakumura Hyakutarô I as Matsue Kurando in Ane imoto date no ôkido, Chikugo no Shibai, Osaka
Jukôdô Yoshikuni ga
No artist seals
Toshin (Toshikuraya Shinbei)
Circa 4-6/1822
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
37.9 x 25.5 cm
Excellent (with embossing)
Excellent color, unbacked; flattened album fold along left edge
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: YSK14


Ane imôto date no ôkido (姉妹達大礎), premiering in 1795, was a Kamigata adaptation of the Edo-based play Go taiheiki shiroishi banashi (Story of Shiraishi and the chronicles of peace: 碁太平記白石噺) of 1780. The Edo version was a mixture of two dramas, one based on a failed rebellion in 1651 led by Yui Shôsetsu (1605-51) against the ten-year-old shogun Ietsuna, and the other a vendetta in 1723 carried on by two sisters. Onobu and her courtesan sister, Miyagino of the Daikokuya in Shin Yoshiwara, vow to avenge their father's murderer, a village magistrate named Daishichi Shiga, whose villainy also caused their mother to die from grief. The brothel proprietor, Soroku, urges them to learn martial arts from Uji Jôsetsu (the theatrical stand-in for Yui Shôsetsu). Onobu studies fencing and changes her name to Shinobu. Aided by Jôsetsu, the sisters exact their revenge.


The actor Hyakutarô was primarily a performer in the chû-shibai (middle theaters: 中芝居); he died young, at age 30, in the seventh month of the year in which Yoshikuni's print was published.

Provenance: This impression is from the Haber Collection, illustrated in Schwaab (Osaka Prints, 1989, no. 63). Prints from this collection are admired for their fine color preservation, and often for their rarity, as with this design.

References: OSP, no. 63; IBKYS-I, no. 348; KNZ, no. 171