- Museum number
Extra large colour woodblock print, surimono. Cloth banner painted with red figure of actor Ichikawa Danjuro VII as Shoki the demon-queller; large paper carp kite (koi-nobori) flying behind. With poems. Signed, sealed and inscribed.
- Production date
Height: 27.20 centimetres
Width: 55.50 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Smith et al 1990
In the 5th month of 1849 Ichikawa Danjuro VIII, the twenty-seven-year-old star of the Kabuki theatre, left the Edo stage to travel to Osaka for a reunion with his father Ebizo (Danjuro VII), who had been banished from Edo during the repressive Tempo Reforms some seven years earlier. As a parting salute to their idol, members of two clubs of amateur 'haiku' poets - the Shimba and Uogashi clubs located in the fish market districts of Edo - sponsored this large, 'de-luxe'-edition print. To match the time of year, Kuniyoshi chose the subject of decorations for the Boys' Festival on the 5th day of the 5th month: a monster paper carp kite flying over a cloth banner painted with the bristling scarlet figure of Shoki, ancient Chinese queller of demons. As a tribute to the Danjuro actor family, Shoki's face is transformed into a portrait of the exiled Danjuro VII; perhaps the leaping carp - a symbol of manly perseverance - is intended to represent his son. Danjufo VII's acting emblem was a curled lobster, and Taiwa, one of the poets, represents in his verse the wishes of all the fishmongers in the Nihombashi area that their idol will return from exile:
Nibune no Nihombashi
Ebi o machikeri Waiting for the lobster boat
Nihombashi To come into port
Danjuro VII was indeed pardoned later that same year and allowed to return to his adoring public in Edo.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2009 Mar 21-Jun 7, London, Royal Academy, 'Kuniyoshi'
2010 12 Mar-13 Jun, New York, Japan Society, ‘Graphic Heroes, Magic Monsters: Japanese Prints by Utagawa Kuniyoshi from the Arthur R. MillerCollection’
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Boys' Festival
- Acquisition date
- Registration number