Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III), 1786-1865
Fashionable Parodies of the Immortal Poets: Fun'ya no Yasuhide
(Furyu Mitate-e Rokkasen: Fun'ya no Yasuhide)
signed Kunisada aratame (changing his name to) nidai (the second) Toyokuni ga, with red circular tama seal, with publisher's mark of Fujioka-ya Hikotaro (Shogendo), and censor's seal Fu (Fukatsu Ihei), ca. 1844
chuban tate-e 9 5/8 by 6 3/4 in., 24.5 by 17.2 cm
In the introduction to the 9th century poetry anthology, the Kokin Wakushu (ca. 905), six earlier waka poets were identified as important and notable. This grouping of six became known as the Rokkasen (Six Immortal Poets).
This series is a mitate-e (parody) of the Rokkasen poets. The Rokkasen poet, Fun'ya no Yasuhide (dates unknown) is depicted in the round cartouche, looking with bemusement at the young beauty below. The poem, signed Sho-?-en, is likely by a contemporary of Kunisada. The first line, fumi yome ha, seems to be a play on the name of Fun'ya (or Bun'ya).
Fumi yome ha
kokoro no nishiki
koromo kishi to
Reading this letter
enriches my mind
wearing good cloth
For comparison with another impression in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, see www.mfa.org, accession number 2009.4991.33.
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