Onoe Kikugorō V as Masaoka from the series One Hundred Roles of Baikō

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Onoe Kikugorō V as Masaoka

from the series One Hundred Roles of Baikō

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1894

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Mongaku Shonin from the series One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjuro

IHL Cat. #1395

About This Print

The actor Onoe Kikugorō V (1844-1903) as the nursemaid Masaoka 政岡 in the play Meiboku Sendai Hagi (Precious Incense and Autumn Flowers of Sendai). The insert in the top right shows the actors Onoe Kiku [Onoe Iwagorō 尾上岩五郎 ] as Masaoka's own son Senmatsu 千松  and IchikawaBotan 市川ぼたん[Ichikawa Sadanji II] as the young lord Tsuriky, Masaoka's charge.

For profiles of Onoe Kikugorō V, Onoe Kiku and Ichikawa Botan please see the article The Kabuki Actor.

The Series "One Hundred Roles of Baikō"
Source: Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, p. 26, 27.

In 1893 Kunichika undertook a commission for two series of single-sheet portraits, each dedicated to the two most famous actors of their time, Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (1838-1903) and Onoe Kikugorō V (1844-1903).  The first of these, One hundred roles of Danjūrō, featured the major roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō IX in a set of half-length portraits.  (See print IHL Cat. #s 663, 689 and 701.) The second, One hundred roles of Baikō, featured the major roles of Onoe Kikugorō V and included an insert on the top of the print depicting a supporting actor.  Both the series were commissioned by Fukuda Kumajirō and Gusokuya Kahei.These two series are regarded as ‘monuments to his [Kunichika’s] career’.

The name "Baikō" in the series title was the haiku pen name of Onoe Kikugorō V and Kunichika was on friendly terms with him, often drinking tea and chatting backstage. 

The Play "Meiboku Sendai Hagi"
Meiboku Sendai Hagi is known in English as "Troubles in the Date Clan" as well as "Precious Incense and Autumn Flowers of Sendai."
Masaoka’s son, Senmatsu, is ordered by his mother to protect Tsuruchiyo and he keeps her words. When Sakae Gozen of Danjo’s gang of plotters bring a suspicious-looking sweet for the young lord to eat, Senmatsu grabs it and takes the first bite. The supposed treat contains deadly poison, but to conceal that fact Yashio stabs Senmatsu to death as Masaoka looks on. The nurse remains true to her duties, concealing Tsuruchiyo inside her long outer garment to protect him. Even as her own son dies, she shows no emotion.

Only after the villains leave and Masaoka is alone does she express her sorrow. This scene in which Masaoka says "You have done well" to dead Semmatsu and praises Semmatsu's loyalty, is for the audience the best part of the recitation, a lament called Kudoki. The highlights of this scene are Masaoka's expression of her true feelings by her musical speech and her gestures perfectly synchronized with the shamisen accompaniment.

Print Details

IHL Catalog #1395
 Title (Description)Onoe Kikugorō V as Masaoka supported by Onoe Iwagorō as Senmatsu and Ichikawa Botan as Tsurikyō [inset] in the play Meiboku Sendai Hagi (Precious Incense and Autumn Flowers of Sendai)
政岡  尾上菊五郎・鶴千代丸 市川ぼたん・千松 尾上きく・伽羅先代萩 
 Series One Hundred Roles of Baikō
 梅幸百種之内 Baikō hyakushu no uchi
 Artist Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
豊原国周筆 Toyohara Kunichika hitsu with toshidama seal
 Seal 年玉印 toshidama seal (shown above beneath signature)
 Publication Date
1894 明治廿七 月 日

Fukuda Kumajirō 福田熊次郎
seal: Ningyōchō Gusokuya, han 人形丁 具足屋 板
[Marks: pub. ref. 071; seal ref. 26-075]

Nisei Watanabe Hori Ei 二卋 渡辺彫栄
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - overall toning, full-size; not backed
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
print number 七十八 78 in the series
 Format vertical ōban
 H x W Paper 
 14 15/16 x 10 7/16 in. (37.9 x 26.5 cm)
 H x W Image
 13 5/8 x 9 3/16 in. (34.6 x 23.3 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Waseda University Cultural Resource Database 403-0407, 406-0053;
Tokyo Metropolitan Library 
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