Ichimura Kakitsu IV, Sawamura Tanosuke III
By Tsukioka Yoshitoshi
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Medium: woodcut/woodblock/ukiyo-e, woodblock
Edition size: n/a
Sheet size: 37 x 73 cm
Price: $1500 (excl. taxes)
signed Yoshitoshi hitsu, publisher's seal Yamajin han (Yamashiroya Jinbei of Sansendo), combined censor and date seal U-ichi, aratame (year of the hare , 1st month, examined)
This triptych depicts three characters from the play Keisei Soga kuruwa kagami (Mirror of the Soga Tales from the Pleasure Quarters) as staged at the Edo Ichimura Theater in the second month of 1867. In the center sheet the actor Ichimura Kakitsu IV (Onoe Kikugoro V, 1844-1903) is in role of the oshuya tedai ('shop clerk') Narihira Reizaburo, in the left sheet the actor Sawamura Tanosuke III (1845-1878) is in role of the daiyu courtesan Komachi O-Shizu, and in the right sheet is an unidentified actor looks on menacingly. The sign in the center sheet appears to read Gokyo no matsu.
The roles of Reizaburo and O-Shizu are based on Ariwara no Narihara (825-880) and Ono no Komachi (825-900), two of the Rokkasen (Six Poetic Immortals) from the Ise Monogatari (The Tales of Ise). The Ise Monogatari is a collection of Heian Period (794-1185) poems and associated historical narratives thought to be compiled by Narihira himself. Though the actual historical pair is not thought to have been romantically engaged with one another, and perhaps never even met in person, they came to be conceptualized as representing ideal love and were represented as a couple in this and other kabuki dramas.