Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I (初代歌川豊国)

Print: Bandō Mitsugorō III (坂東三津五郎) as Nuregami Chōrorō (濡髪長五郎) in the play Futatsu-chōchō Kuruwa Nikki - the right-hand panel of a three panel composition

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Dates: circa 1816,created
Dimensions: 9.69 in,14.17 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Tsuruya Kinsuke (Marks 554 - seal 06-002)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Waseda University;

Physical description:

According to Waseda University this print commemorates a performance on the 18th day of the 6th month of 1814. Many other Japanese web sites pair this print to with two other similar prints in something resembling a triptych.

This play has been identified as Futatsu chōchō kuruwa nikki (双蝶仝曲輪日記). There is a summary of this play at http://www.kabuki21.com/fckn.php.

Use the zooming tool to look at the light colored field behind the actor. The whole area is filled with an embossed, interlocking manji or swastika forms. A positive symbol the way it is used here. There are other areas to look at carefully. For example, the delicacy of the printing of the charcoal colored parts of Chōrorō's robes is amazing. It has the sense and feel of an ink rubbing of an ancient Chinese stele. The subtle, but beautiful floral patterning of the metallic parts of his pipe are echoed by the brightly colored garment which appears near his waist. Clearly this was a master workshop at its best.


This image appeared on the front of a catalogue published by Waseda University in 2008. It was 96 pages long, with 126 illustrations of Bandō Mitsugorō III.