Artist: Yoshikawa Kanpō (吉川観方)

Print: Kataoka Gadō no Miyuki [片岡我童のみゆき] -
Kataoka Gadō IV as Miyuki in the play Asagao nikki
'The Tales of the Morning Glory'

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Dates: 1924,created
Dimensions: 10.375 in,16.625 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Kanpō (観方)
Publisher's seal below signature:
Satō Shōtarō han
Publisher's seal in lower left:
Satō ko

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Waseda University; Freer/Sackler Galleries; Nihon no hanga - a private museum in Amsterdam; British Museum; The Art Institute of Chicago;

Physical description:

"In this stunning print, Kanpō has depicted Kataoka Gadō (Kataoka Nizaemon XII, 1882-1946), an actor of onnagata. He is portrayed in the role as Miyuki in the play Asagao nikki ('Diary of the morning glory'). Miyuki, the daughter fo the Akizuki family, falls in love with Miyagi Asajirō while firefly hunting. The lovers are later separated and Miyuki, told she will marry with another, a certain Komazawa Jirōzaemon, runs away. She eventually goes blind from her incessant weeping over her tragic fate. She changes her name to asagao ('morning glory') and becomes a wandering beggar. In an inn, she plays the koto for Komazawa, who is in reality Miyagi. He does not reveal his true identity and instead leaves, later to send medicine, money and a fan with a poem. Miyuki realises who Komazawa is and rushes after him, only to encounter a rainstorm that prevents her crossing a river. In despair, she intends to throw herself into the rifer, but is saved by her father's servant: Miyuki's eyesight is restored once she drinks the medicine. Miyuki's eyesight is restored once she drins the medicine. Kanpō has depicted the blind Miyuki wearing a finger plectrum for the koto."

Quoted from: The New Wave: Twentieth-century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, p. 173 with a colored illustration.


This remarkable print was published in Kyoto. The carver is believed to have been Maeda and the printer was Oiwa Tokuzo.


Illustrated in:

1) In black and white as #329 in Modern Japanese Prints by Dorothy Blair, 1977 reprint. The edition size is listed as 200.

2) In black and white in The Japanese Print Since 1900: Old Dreams and New Visions by Lawrence Smith, p. 76.

3) In 3 versions, 2 in color and 1 in black and white, in Shin-Hanga: New Prints in Modern Japan by Kendall Brown and Hollis Goodall-Cristante, p. 39. One example is a sample print, one a keyblock print and one the finished print.

"That publishers other than Watanabe were equally careful in the creation of shin-hanga is witnessed in the key-block, sample, and final prints for Kataoka Gadō IV as Miyuki by Yoshikawa Kanpō (1894-1979). Published in Kyoto by Satō Shōtarō, the sample print... significantly alters the lines of the collar, proper right sleeve, eyebrows, bridge of the nose, and hands from those on the keyblock print... A comparison of the colors in the sample print and final print... demonstrate that the colors of the outer robe and underkimono (visible at the neck) were changed.

The changes in Kanpō's print might have been initiated by the publisher, carver, or printer but were likely made in consultation with the artist."

Ibid., pp. 38-39. [The first two prints mentioned are in the Ed Fries collection and the third one is in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.]