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Fushimichō Jishin no Yobanashi

Famous Places, Azuma Bridge in Tokyo

 Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Fushimichō Jishin no Yobanashi

(The Fushimi Earthquake Night Chat)

by Utagawa Kunimasa IV with the assistance of his son Utagawa Kokunimasa, 1891

Kami-no Megumi Wagō-no Torikumi

IHL Cat. #1895

About This Print

A scene from the play Fushimichō Jishin no Yobanashi by Takeshiba Kinsaku (Kawatake Shinshichi III, 1842-1901). Fires burn in the night in the aftermath of the 1596 Fushimi Earthquake that destroyed Toyotomi Hideyoshi's (1536-1598) Fushimi Castle and much of the surrounding area.1 Hideyoshi, played by Nakamura Jusaburō III (1839-1896), is seen seated in the right panel.

While I could not locate a synopsis of this play it is, by title, built around the earthquake that struck the Osaka-Kyoto area in 1596 and described in an account partially compiled from Rai San'yo's Unofficial History of Japan (Nihon gashi), completed in 1827, as follows: 
"On the 12th day 7th mouth 1st year Keicho (1596), a great earthquake took place shaking down the castle of Fushimi, and many houses of Kioto, under which a great number of the inhabitants were buried."2 

In the print the character named Ōsakaya Hideyoshi (大阪屋秀吉) is sitting on an improvised receiving area in the immediate aftermath of the quake. Members of his court are assembled around him as he is approached by a firefighter, possibly with a report on the devastation. In the background we see an array of firemen.

The above mentioned account of the earthquake goes on to say, "It is also said that many maids of Hideyoshi were buried under the falling buildings of Fushimi, and the vacancies so caused were filled with courtesans from Ōsaka."3

The archive of the Hankyu Culture Foundation lists the play as being part of a four piece performance at Tokyo's Ichimura-za on October 17, 1891.4

The actors and their roles (both in the red cartouches), as listed by the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum, Waseda University database are:
[note: transliterations are my own and may not always be correct. A ? indicates my best guess.]

Right Panel: 
Iwai Komurasaki III [3]岩井小紫 as Nyōbō Oman 女房おまん 
Nakamura Jusaburō III [3]中村寿三郎 as Ōsakaya Hideyoshi 大阪屋秀吉 
Ichikawa Yonesaburō [0]市川米三郎 as Naigeisha Omatsu 内芸者おまつ 
Sawamura Shozan []沢村曙山 as Chiyogiku 千代菊

Center Panel:
Iwai Matsuyo? [0]岩井松代 as 配役 浪花津
Kawarasaki ? 0]河原崎一 as かむろみどり
Ichikawa Shōjiyaku [0]市川升若 as やり手お幸 
Ichikawa Sadanji [1]市川左団次 as ○目ばし清蔵

Left Panel:
Ichikawa Kodanji V [5]市川小団次 as ○目ばし又蔵 Matazō
Iwai Matsunosuke IV [4]岩井松之助 as 大淀
Ichikawa Kōtarō [0]市川好太郎 as ○目ばし出まへ持
Ichikawa Yonezō []市川米蔵 as 松ヶ枝
Ichikawa Saiji []市川左伊二 [also written 市川左伊次] as Wakaimono Sakichi 若い者左吉
Ichikawa ? [0]市川鯉舞子 as Wakaume 若梅

The Actors Pictured

For background on the actors pictured see their respective entries in the article The Kabuki Actor on this site.

1 Toyotomi Hideyoshi 豊臣秀吉 (1536-1598) was the second of Japan's "three great unifiers." He brought an end to the Warring States period (c. 1467 – c. 1600) ushering in a period of relative peace.
2 Destructive Earthquakes in Japan by I. Hattori, Esq., Read before the Asiatic Society of Japan, on the 23rd March, 1878., p. 12-13
3 ibid.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #1895
 Title (Description) 伏見街地震夜話 (ふしみちょうじしんのよばなし) Fushimichō Jishin no Yobanashi
 The Fushimi Earthquake Night Chat
 Artist Utagawa Kunimasa IV (1848-1920) and Utagawa Kokunimasa (1874-1944)

小国政補助  Kokunimasa hojo
[hojo = with the assistance of]
Kōchōrō Kunisada hitsu
 Seal Toshidama seal 年玉印 beneath signature (see right above)
 unread seal beneath signature (see left above)
 Publication Date October 1891 (Meiji 24) 明治廿四年十月 日 出版
福田 熊治郎 Fukuda Kumajirō [Marks pub. ref. 549; seal not shown] 

 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - three separate sheets; unbacked; minor toning; red stain upper left corner of left sheet
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Format vertical oban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 R: 14 3/4 x 10 in. (37.5 x 25.4 cm) 
 C: 14 3/4 x 9 7/8 in. (37.5 x 25.1 cm)
 L: 14 3/4 x 9 7/8 in. (37.5 x 25.1 cm)
 H x W Image R: 14 1/4 x 9 9/16 in. (36.2 x 24.3 cm) 
 C: 14 3/16 X 9 3/8 in. (36 x 23.8 cm)
 L: 14 3/16 x 9 7/16 in. (36 x 24 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Waseda University The Database of Ukiyo-e 012-0710, 0711, 0712; Edo-Tokyo Museum 86300780 (center panel missing)
last update:
4/20/2019 created