Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865
Actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII as Oboshi Yuranosuke
(Ichikawa Danjuro- Oboshi Yuranosuke)
signed Gototei Kunisada ga, with artist's seal Soda, censor's seal kiwame (approved), published by Iwatoya Kisaburo of Erindo, ca. 1816, 7th month
oban tate-e 14 5/8 by 9 7/8 in., 37.1 by 25.1 cm
This print is from an rare untitled series (with only seven designs recorded thus far) related to a performance of the Chushingura (Treasury of Loyal Retainers) given at the Nakamura Theater in Edo during the 7th month of 1816. Ichikawa Danjuro VII (1791-1859) is in the role of Yuranosuke, the determined leader of the forty-seven ronin who successfully conspire over a period of two years in order to avenge the wrongful punishment of their master who was forced to commit seppuku due to an unforgivable transgression at the shogun's castle. Throughout most of the play, while the ronin disperse to different locations and to lay low and hatch a plan, Yuranosuke puts on an act of being a degenerate drunk who is incapable and uninterested in seeking vengeance. However, in this half-length portrait Kunisada captures Danjuro VII's interpretation of the other side of the complex character: the assertive Yuranosuke whose unwavering loyalty and cunning planning achieves the revenge he promised his dying master.
Sebastian Izzard, Kunisada's World, Japan Society Gallery, 1993, p. 55, cat. no. 8/1
Utagawa Kunisada: 150th Anniversary of His Death, Ota Memorial Museum of Art, 2014, p. 70, no. 65
Scholten Japanese Art is open Monday - Friday, and some Saturdays by appointment only
Contact Katherine Martin at
(212) 585-0474 or email
to schedule a visit between 11am and 4pm for no more than two individuals at a time.
In order to adhere to New York State guidelines visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
site last updated
February 24, 2021
Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475
Join our mailing list...