Actor Ichimura Kakitsu IV as Shop Clerk Narihira Reizaburo, Actor Sawamura Tanosuke III as Courtesan Komachi O-Shizu, Unidentified Actor in Menacing Role
(Ichimura Kakitsu, Oshuya tedai Narihira Reizaburo, Sawamura Tanosuke, Daiyu Komachi O-Shizu)
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)
oban tate-e triptych 14 5/8 by 28 3/4 in., 37 by 73 cm
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.
Joshua S. Mostow, Courtly Visions: The Ise Stories and the Politics of Cultural Appropriation, 2014, pp. 248-251
Waseda University Theater Museum (enpaku.waseda.ac.jp), accession no. 101.4232
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