Kunisada (Toyokuni III)

Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III)


Heroic Commoners in Kabuki: Asaina Tobei
(Rien kyokaku den: Asaina Tobei)

signed Nanajuhassai Toyokuni hitsu, carver's seal Hori Ota Tashichi (Ota Komakichi), publisher's seal Yorozucho, Hiranoya (Hiranoya Shinzo of Aikindo), combined censor and date seal I-roku, aratame (year of the boar [1863], 6th month, examined)

oban tate-e 14 3/8 by 9 5/8 in., 36.4 by 24.6 cm

The actor Nakamura Shikan IV (1831-1899) is in the tragic role of Asaina Tobei from the play Gokusaishiki musume ogi (The Maiden's Colorful Fan). Tobei accidentally murders his pious and blind stepbrother on a rainy night. Kunisada pictures Tobei in a theatrical pose, sword in hand, in the midst of a thunderstorm.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (www.mfa.org), from the Bigelow Collection, accession no. 11.42875

price: $900


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 preferably for no more than two individuals at a time.
Visitors are asked to wear face masks and practice social distancing at their discretion.

site last updated
May 25, 2023

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475