Help with information about and variations in two Kunichika prints of same scene.

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Help with information about and variations in two Kunichika prints of same scene.


I attach two variations of a Kunichika design.  As best I can tell, the change to the print was made to change the name of one of the actors.  I welcome any additional information about these prints.  Are there other changes to the text in the variations?  Any idea which one came first?  Any thoughts and or information would be greatly appreciated.  I have had some difficulty getting information on this print on line or in the books available to me. Also any thought on the block cutter’s seal?  Thanks in advance!  MichaelO

  • manuD

    As far as I can tell, no other changes than the middle actor. Besides the actors and roles, there is the name of the publisher Yamamura Kōjirō (山村鉱次郎) and of the artist Arakawa Yasohachi (荒川 八十八), although the latter name is missing on one print.

    Waseda dates the print with the middle name as 助高屋高助 as 1883, and gives no date for the print with the other name.

    彫工銀  Horikō Gin, seal of Asai Ginjirō, active from at least 1875 to 1890

    • MichaelO

      Thank you-- that's very interesting that a second artist is mentioned on the print.  Does this suggest they had a hand in the design of the print?  Thank you again for your helpful and interesting observation,

  • Horst

    I think the print with Suketakaya Takasuke [IV] (助高屋高助) is from "Eiyū kijutsu kagami" (英優奇術鑑) 12/1883 and the one with Nakamura Fukusuke [IV] (中村福助) from "Wada gassen onna maizuru" (和田合戦女舞鶴) 04/1897.

    • MichaelO

      Thank you Horst.  That appears to answer the question as to which version came first.  I appreciate the information very much.

  • Judy H


    one of my favorite owned prints.  Here is information I;ve gathered over the years.
    artist: Kunichika --  国周
    R: Ichikawa Sadanji I --  [1]市川左団次                as  Orochi-maru,  --  大蛇丸
    C: Suketaya Takasuke IV  --  [4]助高屋高助         as Tsunade  --  綱手
    L: Ichikawa Danjūrō IX --  [9]市川団十郎              as Jiraiya  -- 児雷也
    note: scroll cartouche on center panel lists the cast
    play's regular title: Jiraiya (Mitate)  --  見立)児雷也   --  みたてじらいや
    play's title: Jiraiya (Mitate)
    performance date: 12/1883  --  Meiji 16 (1883), 12th month --   明治 16 (­1883)・12・
    performance location: 江戸  -- Edo
    signature: Ōju [on request] Toyohara Kunichika fude  --  応需豊原国周筆
    inspection seal: Gotodoke (Date Delivered)  December 1883 
                --  Ontodoke Meiji jū roku-nen 12gatsu-bi   --  御届明治十六年十二月 日
    Waseda University Theatrical Data Base                                                                        1/29/16
    material number: R: 101-1335, 007-0984   C: 101-1336, 007-0982  L:101-1337, 007-0982
    group number: 101-1335 , 007-series not grouped
    title: Mirror of Magical Heroes   --  Eiyū kijutsu no kagami 英優奇術鑑(えいゆうきじゅつのかがみ)
    R: Ichikawa Sadanji  --  市川左団次                     as Orochi-maru  --大蛇丸
    C: Suketaya Takasuke  --  助高屋高助                as Tsunade  --  綱手
    L: Ichikawa Danjuro  --   市川団十郎                    as Jiraiya  --  児雷也
    signature: Ōju [on request] Toyohara Kunichika fude    --  応需 豊原国周筆
    issue date: 12/1883 --  Meiji 16 (1883) 12 tsuki  -- 明治16(1883)12月 
    Hankyu Cultural Foundation  Item Nos: R: 3951-01   C: 3951-02   L: 3951-03                    3/23/18

    subject: Orochimaru Tsunade Jiraiya  --  大蛇丸綱手児雷也
    signature: On request Toyohara Kunichika with Kunichika seal  Aakawa Yasohachi  --   Ōju toyohara kunichika fude shirushi (Kunichika): Arakawa Yasohachi  --   応需豊原国周筆印(国周):荒川八十八
    publisher: Yamamura Kojirō  --  山村鑛次郎
    date: Reported in December 1883  --   Meiji 16-nen 12 tsuki-todoke (1883)  --  明治16年12月届(1883)
    [note: Arakawa was his mother’s surname, and Yasohachi his personal name – Lavenberg]
    Shizuoka Prefectural Library                                                                                          2/25/21
    accession number: K915-108-027-010                 Ukiyo-e collection 27
    Tokyo Metro Library

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