utagawa toyokuni iii

Utagawa Kunisada 歌川 国貞 AKA Utagawa Toyokuni III 三代歌川豊国 (1786–1864)

The actor Onoe Kikugorou III 三代目 尾上 菊五郎 (1784-1849) AKA Kayanoya Kanpei as Kayanoya Kanpei - Japan - 1833

Right to left:

  1. 「累ゆうこん」 
  2. 「祐念上人」「田舎娘おりき」 
  3. 「木下川与右衛門」 

Physical description: Tokubei plays originated centuries ago, but came to the fore in the early 19th century, 1804, to be exact, with The Tale of Tokubei from India. It “…enjoyed outstanding popularity and established its author, Tsuruya Nanboku IV (1755-1829), as the preeminent playwright of his generation.” Tokubei was based on a real merchant/trader named Takamatsu Tokubei who returned to Japan in 1633 aboard a Dutch ship. Plays about him were performed during the summers in which real water was used “…to distract audiences from the heat. Nanboku also used water and added numerous spectacular tricks (keren) to emphasize his transformation of the tale into a, at times, chilling ghost play (kaiden mono), in tune with the summer Obon (bon) festival in which the spirits fo the dead were briefly welcomed home by their families.

The success of the 1804 production of Tokubei from Indianot only resulted in a series of revivals but also ushered in a whole slew of ghost plays. Previously ghosts had appeared in kabuki to express the yearning of a departed soul. Nanboku — inspired by the new taste of theatregoers for the bloodthirsty and bizarre, an effect of the Bunka-Bunsei (Kasei) era’s (1804-1830) social decadence — wrote a series of ghost plays that aimed to terrify audiences….

The play is renowned for its spectacular tricks and unusual costumes, which represent magic and foreign influences on Japan. The play is also unusual for the multiple and rapid scene changes that contribute to the sense of supernatural uncertainty.”

Tokubei doesn’t realize it but he is the son of a Korean warrior who is hell-bent on killing the shogun. His father is in the possession of several powerful tools which help him perform magical feats. Before killing himself the father hands off these magical tools to Tokubei. The spectacles that follow in this play are astounding.

“The play is remarkable not only for preposterous magic and visually brilliant special effects, but also for the dramatic concept of supernatural chaos…” Source and quotes are from: Kabuki Plays On Stage: Darkness and Desire, 1804-1864, volume 3, pp. 33-35.”

Utagawa Kunisada (also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III) 三代歌川豊国 

“Musashibo Benkei carrying great bell of Mii temple” ; ca 1830-1839 by

Utagawa Kunisada歌川 国貞 (1786-1865) ou Utagawa Toyokuni III   三代  歌川豊国  (3ème génération Toyokuni Utagawa).

Benkei 弁慶 ou Saitō Musashibō Benkei 西塔武蔵坊弁慶 (1155-1189) fut le compagnon de Minamoto no Yoshitsune 源義経 (1159-1189).
C’était un moine soldat : yamabushi 山伏 “les moines du mont” de l'ère Heian 平安時代 (794-1185).
Il est généralement décrit comme un homme très fort (il était censé mesurer plus de 2 mètres) et très loyal et est l'un des sujets favoris du folklore japonais sous le nom de Saitō Oniwakamaru 西塔鬼若丸.

From Right to Left:

  1. 「本朝丸綱五郎成田山之御利益ニ而危一命ヲ助ルノ処」「制迦童子」 
  2. 「成田山不動明王」「平のや徳兵衛 後ニ本朝丸綱五郎」 
  3. 「伽羅童子」 Ichikawa Kuzo II (Ichikawa Danzō VI) as Doji Kyara (伽羅童子) at Ichimura Theater 1851/09

 

Utagawa Kunisada (also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III) 三代歌川豊国 

Paper Lantern on a Pleasure Boat, from the series Secret Meetings by Moonlight (Tsuki no kage shinobiau yoru)

「月の陰忍逢ふ夜」 屋形船に提灯
Japanese
Edo period
1830s
Artist Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III) (Japanese, 1786–1864)

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Physical description: Dietary Life Rules (Inshoku yōjō kagami) explains ill effects of intemperance & functions of organs

Following is the abstract in English of a scholarly paper published in Japanese by Etsuo Shirasugi in 2006: “There are two ukiyoe, Japanese woodblock prints, presumed to have been produced around 1850 by the artist Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1864), or possibly, an understudy at his shop. One of the two ukiyoe, titled Inshoku yojo kagami (Rules of Dietary Life) shows a man drinking sake, holding a goblet in his hand. The other, titled Boji yojo kagami (Rules of Sexual Life) shows a woman, apparently a courtesan, holding a tobacco pipe to her mouth. These prints give a good picture of the images of the inside of human body, which were widely accepted among the common people after the end of the seventeenth century in the Edo period, because ukiyoe was a popular art produced by the common people in the Edo period, and the market for ukiyoe prints was primarily the general populace of the cities. The contrivance of the two Rules of Life prints lies in their fusion of two formats. One is the format of see-through body displaying the internal organs. The other is that of explaining the functions of the various internal organs in the form of familiar scenes from the living space of cities and households. Miniature sketches of people at work can be seen in them, performing the tasks believed to be that of each organ. By observing the work being carried out by the people, one could understand the organ’s function. The purpose of the two annotated prints is explained in the notes as twofold. One was to educate viewers about the functions of the five viscera and six entrails, i.e., the principal inner organs in the traditional East Asian conception of the body. The other was to admonish them against excessive eating, drinking and sexual intercourse.”

Illustrated
The Male Journey in Japanese Prints, by Roger Keyes, U. of CA Press, 1989 page 142-3 
Daruma Magazine, No. 68. (translation of text to English)

Utagawa Kunisada (also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III) 三代歌川豊国 

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Poem by Fujiwara no Toshiyuki Ason: (Actor Ichikawa Kodanji IV as) the Ghost of Kasane (Kasane no bôkon), from the series Comparisons for Thirty-six Selected Poems (Mitate sanjûrokkasen no uchi)

「見立三十六歌撰之内 藤原繁行朝臣 累の亡魂」 四代目市川小団次
Japanese
Edo period
1852 (Kaei 5), 9th month
Artist Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III) (Japanese, 1786–1864), Publisher Iseya Kanekichi (Japanese), Blockcutter Yokokawa Takejirô (Hori Take)

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Loquat Flower of the Secret Melody (Hikyoku no biwa no hana): (Actor Ichikawa Ebizô V as) Matsunami Kengyô, actually Akushichibyôe, from the series Popular Matches for Thirty-six Selected Flowers (Tôsei mitate sanjûroku kasen)

「当盛見立三十六花撰(とうせいみたてさんじふろくくわせん) 秘曲の枇杷の花 松浪検校実ハ悪七兵ヱ」 五代目市川海老蔵
Japanese
Edo period
1863 (Bunkyû 3), 4th month
Artist Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III) (Japanese, 1786–1864), Publisher Hiranoya Shinzô (Aikindô), Blockcutter Ôta Komakichi (Hori Koma, Hori Tashichi) (Japanese)

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