- Museum number
- Object: Yakusha sanjurokkasen 俳憂三十六花撰 (Thirty-Six Flowers of the Acting Profession)
Illustrated book. Portraits of actors, accompanied by haiku poems in their own calligraphy; views of leading actors' villas. With preface and colophon. Woodblock-printed.
- Production date
Height: 25.50 centimetres (covers)
Width: 18.50 centimetres (covers)
- Curator's comments
This is the most opulently produced of all of Kunisada’s illustrated books apart from his erotica. According to Sato Satoru, the book was intended for publication to commemorate the stage debut of Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII circa 1833, the year in which the actors performed the roles in which they are depicted in this book. For unknown reasons its publication was delayed to 1835.
When the book was finally published, only the first of the three intended volumes appeared. (The colophon describes the books as in three volumes 全部三巻.) It is likely that the Tenpô crisis made publication of the second and third volumes impossible, just as it (may well have) delayed the appearance of the third volume of Hokusai’s 'Fugaku hyakkei' for over a decade.
The book was subsidized (?) by Mr. Sakamoto 坂本, manufacturer of well-known cosmetics 美艶仙女香 and 黒油美玄香. An advertisement for his products forms part of the colophon sheet on the inside back cover. He was also involved in the publication in the early 1830s of 'Yakusha saiken' and other books illustrated by Kunisada.
This book is known in two ‘editions’. The book was conceived and published in an elaborate version of sumizuri 墨刷 with usuzumi 薄墨, that is in black with a range of greys, enhanced with blind printing kataoshi 型押し. Personal seals were added by hand to the poems on the half-length actor portraits and to Hokkei’s signatures on the three views of the leading actors’ villas that conclude the volume. 1948,0214,0.3.1 is one of two known copies of the book printed from the same blocks but with red, purple and light and dark blue replacing the shades of grey seen here.
(Ellis Tinios, Jan 2008)
The illustrated actors and roles are as follows:
Right: Ichikawa Ebizō V as Higuchi no Jirō Kanemitsu
Left: Bandō Mitsugorō IV as Kiso no senjō Yoshikata
Right: Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII as Uirō uri Toraya Fujikichi
Left: Bandō Mitsuemon Asagao Senpei
Right: Yamashita Kinsaku IV as Yaoya no gejo Osugi
Left: Bandō Hikozaemon as Gionmachi no zegen Zenroku
Right: Ichikawa Kazutomo as Fukuyama no katsugi Jinza
Left: Ichimura Uzaemon XII as Shirozakeuri Yamakawaya Masubei
Right: Kataoka Ichizo as Gotō Matabei Motoji
Left: Ichikawa Sumizō III as Oniō Sinzaemon
Right: Mimasu Gennosuke as Tokiyo no kimi no toneri Sakuramaru
Left: Iwai Tojaku as Miuraya no Agemaki
(R. Matsuba, 7/2016)
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Japanese Illustrated Book number: JIB.288A