Artist: Utagawa Kuniyasu (歌川国安)

Print: Segawa Kikunojō V (瀬川菊之丞) as the thief Hotei no Oichi (布袋のお市) - left panel of a triptych

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Dates: created,1820
Dimensions: 9.5 in,15.25 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Signed: Kuniyasu ga (国安画)
Publisher: Ōmiya Heihachi (Marks 413 - seal 01-108)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Waseda University; Art Institute of Chicago - 5 Shunshō prints from 1792; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Shun'ei - Hotei no Oichi from 1792; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Shun'ei - five panels from 1792; Hankyu Culture Foundation;

Physical description:

On New Year's 1792 a new play loosely based on the Soga brothers theme debuted in Edo. It appears to have caught the imagination of its audience and many artists over the next few decades. Sadly, we don't know what the exact subject was, but we do know the name, Waka Murasaki Edokko Soga or 'Pale Purple Soga, Edo Style' (若紫江戸子曽我).

Visually one of the most appealing elements was the inclusion of a group of onnagata as the female counterparts to the so-called '5 chivalrous men'. Above are a number of links which correspond to this print in the Lyon Collection, but are from different years and different artists.


This is the left-hand panel of a tripych

Kabuki21 reports that Hotei no Oichi is one of five aliases of the female thief Hanaoka.

The Segawa Kikunojō crest of a bundle of silk floss, the yuiwata, is prominently displayed in two areas at the bottom of the actor's robes. On the purple robe it is left in reserve while on the black one it is printed in yellow as if it were golden.

The scabbard of the sword is decorated in what the Chinese called the 'cracked ice' motif.

complete triptych - Waseda has center panel & right panel