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This large woodblock print depicts Kabuki theatre actors in the play Sukeroku. The actors are Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII as Hanakawado Sukeroku jitsuwa Soga no Gorô, Ichikawa Komazô VII as Shirozakeuri Shinbei jitsuwa Soga no Jûrô. The play is one of the many farces that were written around the great Japanese revenge saga the Soga Monogatari. The courtesan Agemaki is the lover of Sukeroku (from the title of the kabuki drama) and also of the old samurai Ikyu. Sukeroku is in fact Soga Goro, the well known hero of the epic Soga Monogatari, in disguise. He is trying to discover the identity of his father's assassin and suspects the old man of possessing his father's sword. The play shows the verbal sparring between the two male leads as Sukeroku attempts to get the samurai to draw his weapon. There is a great deal of comedy in the play, Sukeroku being the classic archetype of the 'otokodate' or 'street knight' - the street-tough, romantic, reckless hero. Agemaki has to decide between the reckless young man or the certainty of her future with the aged warrior. In the final act, Sukeroku tricks the old man into drawing his sword, showing himself to be the killer of Sukeroku's father. This print was originally published c1850. This edition dates to c1880s. The colors remain quite vibrant in this busy scene. The print bears all the seals of Kuniyoshi and the publisher, along with the cartouches for the actors in the scene, as well as the date code and the censor seals of the period. This is a classic ukiyo-e print of old, in traditional style. The print sight size is 14" x 9.5", it is matted in ivory and framed in a simple black frame measuring 21.5" x 16.5".                                                                                                                 P7741                  $245.00


Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1797-1861) 'Sukeroku'

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