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Momo Chidori Naruto no Shiranami

Wagō Soga Homare no Fuji

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Momo Chidori Naruto no Shiranami

by Utagawa Yoshitaki, 1875

Police Confront Burglar in Kabuki Theater

IHL Cat. #614

About This Print

The play Momo Chidori Naruto no Shiranami, performed at Osaka's Chikugo 筑後 theater in May 1875, starring the actors (from right to left): Arashi Kitsusaburō IV 四代目 嵐橋三郎 as Irumaya Kijūrō 入間屋喜十郎 , Jitsukawa Enjaku I 初代 実川延若 as the Head Clerk (Bantō) Hikoshichi 番頭彦七, and Arashi Rikan IV 四代目 嵐璃寛 as Osan おさん.

I have not been able to locate any details on the plot of the play, but the National Diet Library holds a manuscript of the play and lists Nagawa Tokusuke I 初代 奈河篤助 (1764-1842) and Chikamatsu Tokuzō 近松徳三 (1751-1810) as the authors.1

Osaka Region Prints - Kamigata-e (Osaka-e)

While Edo/Tokyo was the dominant center of woodblock print production, Osaka was an important regional production center focusing on the Osaka theater. Osaka actor prints (kamigata-e) took on a different, smaller (chūban-size) and less spectacular, appearance than those produced in Edo/Tokyo. While Edo audiences demanded their fire and brimstone, Osaka kabuki patrons craved intricate, heartrending plots.

Kawasaki Kyosen (1841-1899) the son of Yoshitaki and a print designer himself, provides a glimpse into the start of the design process in his account of the Osaka print making process, as follows:

In those days, certain Osaka publishers set out to the theaters on opening day with the artists who drew actors’ likenesses. The dividers were removed from four or five boxes right in the middle of the floor section of the theater and spread with rugs. Tables were set up with brushes and paper, and all was made ready to sketch the happenings on stage. The artist sat in the middle, with the proprietor of the publishing house and his clerks alongside. Besides them, some first-class female entertainers managed the food and drink, so things were quite lively. This was a form of promotion, as much as to say that actor prints were being designed for this performance.2 – an account by the artist’s son, Kawasaki Kyosen (1841-1899)

1 National Diet Library Digital Collections https://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/2560258
2 The Theatrical World of Osaka Prints, Roger S. Keyes and Keiko Mizushima, David R. Godine in association with Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1973 p. 318. For a complete transcript see the article "Production of Actor Prints in Osaka" on this site at https://sites.google.com/a/myjapanesehanga.com/www/home/articles/production-of-actor-prints-in-osaka

Print Details

 IHL Catalog
 Title or Description Momo Chidori Naruto no Shiranami もゝちどり鳴門白浪
 Series N/A
 Artist Utagawa Yoshitaki (1841-1899)
right and center panels: Yoshitaki histsu 芳滝筆
left panel: Yoshitaki ga 芳滝画

signatures from the three sheets of the triptych
 Seal not sealed
 Publication Date May 1875 
FujiyaMasashichi 富士屋政七
seal: Fujimasa han 富士政板 
firm names: Kinkodō 金光堂; Kinseidō 錦正堂
[Marks: pub. ref. 065; seal not shown]

publisher's marks from the three sheets of the triptych
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - three sheets joined together; trimmed to image; minor rubbing and stains
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e; kamigata-e
 Format vertical chūban triptych
 H x W Paper 
 9 1/2 x 20 7/8 in. (24.1 x 53 cm)
 H x W Image 9 1/2 x 20 7/8 in. (24.1 x 53 cm)

 Collections This Print
 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston 11.36171a-c
latest revision:
6/19/2021 created