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Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)

Print: Bandō Shūka I as Danshichi’s wife Okaji (団七おかぢ) on the left and Seki Sanjurō III as the wife of Giheiji (義平次ばゞア) of Mikawa-cho in the play Shinzō tsurifune kidan [新造艣奇談?]

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Dates: 1852,created
Dimensions: 9.5 in,14.0 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Ichiyūsai Kuniyoshi ga
一勇斎国芳画
Artist's seal: kiri
Publisher's seal possibly reads: 相金
(Not in Marks)
Date seal: 7/1852
Censors' seals: Kinugasa and Murata

Related links: British Museum - a related diptych by Kuniyoshi; Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology, Krakow; Lyon Collection - another Kuniyoshi version of this diptych ;

Physical description:

This diptych commemorates a performance at the Ichimura Theater 1852/04.

This is a particularly curious diptych which shows the wife of Danshichi Kurobei about to slay Danshichi's mother-in-law. Acts of violence by women in Japanese prints are not unknown, but this one is different in that it replaces the figure of Danshichi, who often can be seen wearing a red and white plaid garment, about to kill his father-in-law Goheiji. This is simply a gender substitution. Sadly, we don't know what the play this scene is from, but the parallels are more than evident.

Of course, this situation raises a number of questions which as of now we are unable to answer. If Okaji is about to slay Goheiji's wife, does that mean that she about to kill her own mother? Or, had her mother died and been replaced by a step-mother? We will try to answer this question after further research.