Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I (初代歌川豊国)

Print: Nakamura Utaemon III (中村歌右衛門) from a series of 5 Chivalrous Men

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Dates: circa 1810,created
Dimensions: 9.875 in,14.625 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Harimaya Shinshichi
(Marks 097 - seal 01-002)
Number 3: 三

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston -pentaptych of otokodate by Kunikazu; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - otokodate with flutes and swords by Sadayoshi; Waseda University - another example from this series; Waseda University - another example from this series;

Physical description:

There are two other prints from this series of otokodate in the collection of Waseda University. These figures can often be identified by their sword along with a bamboo flute. This is not always the case, but is frequently enough to make this iconographic clue credible.

All three examples we have found from this series are wearing the same robes with a bamboo motif. While the condition of this print from the Lyon Collection is not pristine, the robe has maintained more of its original coloration than of the two other examples at Waseda University. All three are wearing the summer obis with the same pattern, too. The sheaths and hilts of each of their swords are the same. The sheaths are designed with the cracked ice motif.


The otokodate frequently carried shakuhachi> flutes both for playing and to as symbols of their authority because they often used them as weapons. In this image the 'puppet' is carrying it on his back and can be seen partially poking out near his right shoulder. (JSV)