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Kichiemon in the role of Yura Hyōgo


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Kichiemon in the role of Yura Hyōgo

(in the play The Yaguchi Ferry)

by Natori Shunsen, 1915


IHL Cat. #255

About This Print

One of 30 prints (including 2 cover prints and 2 frontispieces) designed by Natori Shunsen that appeared in the magazine Shin Nigao, whose purpose was to advertise the Kabuki theater and renew interest in actor prints.  This print portrays the actor Nakamura Kichiemon as the character Yura Hyōgo in the play The Yaguchi Ferry and appeared in issue three published in August 1915.

For more information on this short-lived magazine whose purpose was to advertise the Kabuki theater and renew interest in actor prints, see the article Shin Nigao Magazine.

The Actor in the Print

For information on the actor Nakamura Kichiemon, see the entry under The Kabuki Actor.

Kichiemon Nakamura I (1886–1954) as Takebe Genzō, in Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami

Japan Arts Council
[初代] 中村 吉右衛門 (Nakamura Kichiemon,
First Generation)
神霊矢口渡 (Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi)
由良兵庫之助邸 (Yura Hyōgo nosuke tei)
歌舞伎座 (Kabuki-za) 大正4(1915)年 7月(7th month)
Japan Arts Council BM002896

The Play – Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi (The Yaguchi Ferry)

Source: Tales from Old Japanese Dramas, Asataro Miyamori, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1915
Hiraga Gennai (1729–1779), whose pseudonym was Fuku-uchi Kigwai, was the greatest among the Yedo epical dramatists.  His best drama is Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi. Yura Hyōgo is a retainer to Lord Yoshioki, who tries to stop his master from going to war.

Source: Kabuki 21 website http://www.kabuki21.com/yaguchi_no_watashi.php
During the reign of the Emperor Godaigo, the wicked Ashikaga Takauji attempted to dethrone the Emperor and set up a pretender in his place. A great battle was fought on the Plain of Musashino, near what later became Edo. The commander of the Imperial army was Nitta Yoshioki, a famous soldier. He and his troops fought courageously, but were defeated through the treachery of a man whom Yoshioki believed to be his friend. Yoshioki himself was murdered by this same false friend at Yaguchi, where a ferry crossed the Tama River.

Natori Shunsen Catalogue Raisonné Entry

Catalogue Raisonné – Ukiyoe Kabuki Gi Han Ga: Shunsen Natori
(The Skill of Natori Shunsen in Kabuki Prints), 
Kushigata Municipal Shunsen Museum
Kushigata, Japan; 1991, p.93, pl. 174.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #255
 TitleKichiemon in the role of Yura Hyōgo  [in the play Shinrei Yaguchi no Watashi (The Yaguchi Ferry)]
由良兵庫 (吉右衛門) Yura Hyōgo (Kichiemon) as printed on the original presentation page this print is tipped to (see below.)

 Series Magazine: Shin Nigao (New Portraits) volume three 新似顔 第一年參編
 Natori Shunsen (1886-1960)
 Not signed on print; 名取春仙 畫 Natori Shunsen ga printed on bottom of magazine page print is tipped to.
Shun 春
 Date August 1915
 Edition First and only edition printed in magazine Shin Nigao
 Publisher  Nigaodō 似顔洞
 Carver and Printer Igami Bonkotsu (1875-1933)
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - toning and staining on magazine page which print is tipped to
 Genre shin hanga (new prints); nigao-e
 Format koban
 H x W Paper 7 3/8 x 4 1/2 in. (18.7 x 11.4 cm)
 Collections This Print The British Museum 1991,1112,0.193.3 (entire magazine, only front cover shown); Art Research Center Ritsumeikan University BM-SJ193-03 (British Museum's copy of entire magazine with all pages shown)
 Reference LiteratureCatalogue Raisonné – Ukiyoe Kabuki Gi Han Ga: Shunsen Natori (TheSkill of Natori Shunsen in Kabuki Prints), Kushigata Municipal ShunsenMuseum, Kushigata, Japan, 1991, p. 93 number 174; Dramatic Impressions: Japanese Theatre Prints from the Gilbert LuberCollection, Chance, Frank L. & Davis, Julie Nelson, University ofPennsylvania Press, 2007; Printed to Perfection: Twentieth-century Japanese Prints from theRobert O. Muller Collection, Merviss, Newland, et. al., HoteiPublishing, 2004
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