Kasai Tsunemaru (花齋常丸) (artist )
Onoe Tamizō II as the chigo or young temple page Sutewakamaru (児捨若丸) from the play Keisei Chigo Ga Fuchi
Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Kasai Tsunemaru ga (花齋常丸画)
Lyon Collection - Hokuei composition where Utaemon III plays Sutewakamaru
The theatrical Sutewakamaru was the illegitimate son of Akechi Mitsuhide. He spent his childhood at a temple near the roiling waters of Chigo Ga Fuchi near Enoshima. Pursued by two older monks he decided to commit suicide by drowning himself in these waters, but was rescued by Mashiba Hisayorshi, the historical Toyotomi Hideyoshi, his sworn enemy and the killer of his father.
In the scene in this print Sutewakamaru has been attacked as he approaches the waters, but he is getting the better of his assailant. Immediately behind the young man we see the back of a stone statue of Jizō, who was the protective bodhisattva of the souls of little children.
In one of the many confounding elements of kabuki theater Sutewakamaru grows up to be Ishikawa Goemon, the central figure of many traditional plays.
This commemorates a performance at the Onishi Theater, Osaka in 1/1836.
"The Chigo Deep Water (Chigo ga fuchi) in the play title was located off the island of Enoshima. It was there in the twelfth century that a young acolyte or temple page (chigo) named Shiragikumaru committed suicide rather than choose between two priests who vied for his love. The play Keisei chigogafuchi (A courtesan and deep water at Chigo: けいせい稚児淵), along with Chigogafuchi koi no shiranami (Chigo deep water and the white waves of love: 児渕恋白浪), combined the legends of the outlaw Goemon with a revenge tale involving Shiragikumaru (renamed Sutewakamaru in the kabuki dramas). The conflated saga includes Sutewakamaru vowing to avenge the death of Takechi Mitsuhide who had been slain by Mashiba Hisayoshi (the theatrical namesake for the historical shôgun Toyotomi Hideyoshi). This links the Sutewakamaru plot with various Ishikawa Goemon mono ("plays about Ishikawa Goemon"), the legendary fugitive outlaw during the reign of Hideyoshi. Late in the play, Sutewakamaru transforms into Goemon.
In this scene Sutewakamaru appears to be holding an heirloom sword (wrapped in red cloth) while subduing a rather rough-looking, hirsuite adversary — the latter played by an unnamed walk-on actor. The action takes place by a waterfall with a hard slanting rain adding a dynamic touch to the intense portrayal."
Ex. collection Okada Isajiro (岡田伊三次郎).
This information is quoted directly from Osakaprint.com.
There is another print of this same figure in the Lyon Collection. That one is by Hokuei and in that one the character of Sukewakamaru is portrayed by Utaemon III. See the link above.
Illustrated in Schätze der Kamigata: Japanische Farbholzschnitte aus Osaka 1780-1880, MNHA (Musée national d'histoire et d'art Luxembourg), p. 27, #29.
Onoe Tamizō II (二代目尾上多見蔵: 11/1820-1848; 1850-November, 1885) (actor)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (genre)