Paul Binnie, Scottish, b. 1967
The Famous 18 Plays: The Hero Sukeroku
(Kabuki ju-hachiban: Sukeroku)
kappazuri (stencil print) on black washi paper with gold ground and highlights in silver; signed at lower left in blue pigment Binnie, numbered and signed again in bottom margin with red crayon Paul Binnie, 20/80, followed by artist's seal Bin-ni and date seal Heisei roku-nen (Heisei 6 )
dai oban tate-e 18 1/2 by 12 3/8 in., 46.9 by 31.3 cm
This composition is the fifth in the series Kabuki juhachiban (The Famous 18 plays) and depicts the titular hero from the play Sukeroku (Sukeroku). At the beginning of the play, Sukeroku is a misunderstood ne'er-do-well. To his mother and brother, he is disinterested in avenging his father's death and instead only cares about spending his nights at the pleasure quarters with the beautiful courtesan Agemaki. To the other courtesans, he is unduly combative, constantly getting into fights with other patrons. In fact, he spending his days in the pleasure quarters looking for the man who murdered his father and stole his ancestral sword. Sukeroku constantly goads other patrons not because he is arrogant but in the hopes they will draw their sword, thus revealing whether or not they are the man he is looking for. This strategy is remarkably successful, as he soon identifies the samurai Ikyu as his father's killer. Sukeroku bests Ikyu in a duel, killing the older warrior and restoring honor to his family.
Arendie and Henk Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage, 2004, pp. 102-108 (re: play)
Paul Binnie: A Dialogue with the Past - The First 100 Japanese Prints, 2007, p. 64, no. 22
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Scholten Japanese Art
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