Artist: Utagawa Hirosada (歌川広貞)

Print: Nakamura Utaemon IV as Fukashichi (ふか七) - right panel of a pair

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Dates: circa 1850,created
Dimensions: 7.125 in,9.875 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print

Related links: Waseda University; Waseda University - the other half of the diptych portraying Omiwa; Hankyu Culture Foundation;

Physical description:

So who was Fukashichi? In fact, he was actually Kanawa no Gorō, a retainer of Kamatari no Fujiwara who is the chief rival of the evil sorcerer Iruka. Disguised as the fisherman Fukashichi Gorō goes to a town where Iruka is staying. Iruka is protected by a magic spell that can only be broken by the sounds of a flute which has been dipped in the blood of both that of a black-hoofed deer and an extremely jealous woman.

Fukashichi's most famous scene is in Act 4, Scene 4, 'The Palace', of the play Exemplary Tales for Women. Kanawa no Gorō arrives in disguise at Iruka's castle, with a gift of saké from Fujiwara no Kamatari for Iruka. "But the suspicious Iruka declines the sake, which Fukashichi promptly drinks to prove it is not poisoned. Left alone, Fukashichi easily avoids the spears that are thrust at him through the floor... and the poisoned sake he is served he pours onto some flowers, which then shrivel and die."

After Fukashichi leaves the castle he runs into Omiwa who is in a fit of jealous rage. He stabs her and explains it is all for the best because he has already acquired the blood of the black-hoofed deer. As she dies Fukashichi thrusts the flute into her wound. Now he can defeat Iruka.


This print helps commemorate a performance of Imoseyama Onna Teikin (妹背山婦女庭訓 - Mount Imo and Mount Se:An Exemplary Tale of Womanly) performed at the Naka Theater in Osaka in 3/1850.


Listed in Ikeda bunko, Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei, vol. 4, 2003, #258, p. 54.