Hasegawa Sadanobu III, Nakamura Ganjiro

Hasegawa Sadanobu III, 1881-1963

Twelve Songs of Ganjiro: (?) Nakamura Ganjiro, Kawasho
(Ganjiro Junikyoku no uchi: (?) Nakamura Ganjiro, Kawasho)

signed Sansei Shonobu ga, with an Osaka publisher, dated Showa 8 (1933, 8th month)

oban tate-e 14 7/8 by 10 1/4 in., 37.9 by 26.1 cm

The actor Nakamura Ganjiro (1860-1935) is in the role of Kamiya Jihe in the Kawasho (The Kawasho Tea House) scene from the play Shinju Ten no Amijima (The Love Suicides at Amijima). This tragic play tells the story of Jihe and his lover, the courtesan Koharu. Kawasho, the first act of the three act play, establishes their commitment to one another despite many attempts by others to break up their relationship. Jihe's wife, Jihe's brother, Koharu's fellow courtesans, and Koharu's envious, would-be client Tahei all try through conversation and coercion to stifle the love that Jihe and Koharu feel for one another. However, all efforts prove to be for naught. The act concludes with a knowing look between the lovers, acknowledging their passion and sealing their tragic fate. In the final act, Jihe and Koharu run off together. Their first night represents a descent into hell while the following dawn, in which they commit suicide, suggests an ascent into a paradisiacal new day.

This was Ganjiro's most famous role. He revisited the character Jihe at least twenty-four times during his career following his first performance of it at the Ebisu Theater of Osaka in February, 1885. He performed the role in ten theaters that we know of across Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and Nagoya. His last performance as Jihe was staged fourteen months before his death at the Minami Theater in December 1933, his seventh time playing the role at that location.

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