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Yoshikuni (芳國)

Nakamura Utaemon III as Amakawaya Igo (later called Yatô Yomoshichi) in Oishizuri sakura tanzaku, Naka Theater, Osaka
Yoshikuni ga
No artist seal
Toshin (Toshikuraya Shinbei)
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
37.4 x 26.4 cm
Excellent color, unbacked; album crease and repaired wormhole along left edge, two very small smudges in screen area, a few inherent creases and light spotting in the paper
Price (USD/¥):
$430 / Contact us to pay in yen (¥)

Order/Inquiry: YSK21


This play and production was a big hit and proved to be a popular subject for a number of artists. Although the plot for Ôishizuri sakura tanzaku (Ôishi’s stone rubbing, a poem card, and flowering cherry: 大西摺桜花短冊) remains unknown, some role names (such as the virtuous wives Oishi and Osono, or Okaru's brother, Teraoka Heiemon) inscribed on prints by several artists for this production suggest that the story line was adapted from the most famous of all revenge plays, Kanadehon chûshingura (Copybook of the Treasury of Loyal Retainers: 假名手本忠臣蔵). Prints by Hokushû, Shunchô, and Yoshikuni for this performance further identify Utaemon's role of the wine-shop merchant (天川や) as Amakawaya Igo (later called Yatô Yomoshichi). Utaemon also performed as Tashirô Yasubei (a.k.a. the servant Yasuke).


The artist's signature is cleverly placed on the right panel of the byôbu (lit., barrier against the wind: 屏風), a folding or floor screen composed of two or more panels painted with one or more continuous scenes.

The text is titled Tôjin no negoto ("A Chinese person talking in his sleep": 唐人のねごとは). The performance took place at the Naka Theater, but other place names are also mentioned. One of Osaka's premier kabuki theaters, the Kado no Shibai is woven into a personal name, Kadozaemon Hoteiichi (角左衛門布袋市), and the Osaka theater district, Dotonbori, is followed by uruosu (synonymous with hanjô, "success": 繁盛), indicating the performance was a big hit with kabuki fans.

For another design from this production, see SHC03.

References: IBKYS-I: no. 346