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Kyōgen Gojūban, Fumininai


 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Fumininai  文荷 (Two to Deliver One Letter)

from the series Kyōgen Gojūban

by Tsukioka Gyokusei, 1927

IHL Cat. #860

About This Print

One of thirty-four prints designed by Tsukioka Gyokusei (1908-1994) in the series Kyōgen Gojūban (Fifty Kyogen Plays) started by her father Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927).   Tsukioka Kōgyo designed sixteen prints for the series before his death.

For information on the series Kyōgen Gojūban, see the section Final Series of Prints (1927) - Kyōgen gojūban (Fifty Kyōgen Plays) under the artist Tsukioka Kōgyo (1869-1927).

The Play - Fumininai

Source: A Guide to Kyogen, Don Kenny, Hinoki Shoten, 1968, p.42-43.
The Master calls Tar
ō Kaja and Jirō Kaja and says that he wants a letter delivered to a priest friend of his which says that he will go to visit him that evening.  He orders Tarō Kaja to deliver the letter, but he doesn't want to go and suggests that Jirō Kaja be sent.  Jirō Kaja doesn't know the way, so the Master orders them both to go.

As they go along the road, they argue about who should carry the letter.  They pass it back and forth several times, all the while joking about how their Master seems to have become a religious fanatic, or perhaps it's the priest more than the religion he is interested in, etc.  They soon tire of passing it back and forth, so they tie it to a pole and carry it across their shoulders singing as they go along.  They become more and more curious about what the letter says.  They finally open it, comment on the fact that it is written in the language a man uses when writing to his mistress, and get so excited and are having so much fun reading it that they inadvertently rip it in half.  To get rid of the pieces, they begin fanning them while singing a song about a message being delivered on the wings of a breeze.

The Master, worried because they are late, goes out to look for them, and finds them fanning and singing.  They try to smooth out the pieces, apologizing profusely, but the Master chases them off in a rage.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #860
 Title Fumininai 文荷 (Two to Deliver One Letter)
 Series Kyōgen Gojūban 狂言五十番 (Fifty Kyogen Plays)
 Tsukioka Gyokusei (1908-1994)
 Kōbun 江 文
White letter seal in a square shape with double border: 文子 [Fumiko]
 Date 1927
 Edition likely first and only
Matsuki Heikichi (Daikokuya)松木平吉 (大黒屋) and fan-shaped seal reading published by Daikokuya, Tokyo, Ryōgoku 東京両国 大黒屋 発行
[Marks: pub. ref. 029; seal not shown]
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent - minor marks
 Genre ukiyo-e
 Format oban yoko-e
 H x W Paper 10 x 14 7/8 in. (25.4 x 37.8 cm)
 Collections This Print Art Institute of Chicago 1943.832.33; University of Pittsburgh (as part of a bound volume of the entire series Kyōgen gojūban) 20101012-kogyo-0080