Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: Ichimura Uzaemon XII (市村羽左衛門) as Shoki (鍾馗) and Nakamura Utaemon IV (中村歌右衛門) as Ao Oni (青鬼), the Blue Demon, from the series The Twelve Months (Junitsuki no uchi 十二月之内), here the Fifth Month (Satsuki 皐月)

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Dates: 1840,created
Dimensions: 10.125 in,14.125 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
(Marks 595 - seal 04-007)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: British Museum; Waseda University; Victoria and Albert Museum; National Diet Library; Hankyu Culture Foundation;

Physical description:

There are two prints by Kunisada in the Lyon Collection - the other one is #499 - showing this same actor, Utaemon XII, in the same role, in the same performance from 1840, but in different poses. Another difference is that these two prints were produced by different publishers. This one by Yamamotoya Heikichi and the other one by Tsutaya Kichizō.

In this writer's opinion, it is a treat to find two such similar prints in one collection for comparison and enjoyment.


This is from a hengemono dance featuring the twelve months called ‘Hana kyodai nenju gyoji’ (花きょうだい十二月所作); performed at the Ichimura-za in the 3rd month of 1840 (Tenpo 11).

According to the Victoria and Albert Museum this is the 3rd of 8 known prints from this series.