Artist: Gyokushū (玉洲)

Print: Arashi Rikan II (嵐璃寛) as the packhorse driver Hachizō (むまかたはちぞう) in the play Keisei Somewake Tazuna (けいせい染分總) or 'A Courtesan's Reins Dyed in Different Colors'

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Dates: 1834,created
Dimensions: 10.25 in,15.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: color woodblock print
Inscription: Signed: Gyokushū ga (玉洲画)

Related links: Hankyu Culture Foundation;

Physical description:

In a 1708 play by Chikamatsu, translated by Donald Keene, the character of Hachizō makes his appearance. In the first act packhorse drivers are used to accompany the daughter of a lord on her bridal journey. It says: "The drivers of the thirty horses are accomplished ballad singers, chosen, with no expenses spared, for their good looks and fine voices."

Keene notes that Hachizō's name includes the kanji for bee (蜂). In one scene he is described as buzzing (or humming, by extension) as he approaches. Since packhorse drivers were known to be good singers Hachizō's name strengthens this point.

Another reinforcing motif is the pair of stirrups lying in the vat slightly behind the figure of Hachizō. Also, one has to wonder if the chose of design elements has any particular significance: two fans, one with a portion of a pine tree, the other a horse,; an actor standing barefoot in the snow at night holding a closed umbrella; two poems; and an image of Daruma.

The actor Arashi Rikan II kneeling as he cleans his sword blade - or is about to commit seppuku.

Nothing seems to be recorded of this Osaka artist who was, presumably, a pupil of Hokushū.


Illustrated in color in 原色浮世絵大百科事典 (Genshoku Ukiyoe Daihyakka Jiten), vol. 2, p. 25.