Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国) (artist 1786 – 01/12/1865)

The Syllable Mi(み)for Sunset Glow on the Water Seller from the Eight Views (Mizu-uri no sekishō - みづうりの夕照 - hakkei no uchi - 八景のうち)  


9.75 in x 14.25 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Tsujiya Yasubei (Marks 550 - seal 25-418)
Date seal: 8/1856
Censor seal: aratame
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Waseda University - with a reddish ground behind the figure of the water seller
Edo Tokyo Museum
National Diet Library
Kabuki-za.com - description in Japanese only
Art and Design Library, Edinburgh
Lyon Collection - another print from this series
Hankyu Culture Foundation

The lower part of this print shows Kawarazaki Gonjūrō I (初代河原崎権十郎) as a water seller (mizu-uri) from the series Seven Calligraphic Models for Each Character in the Kana Syllabary.


A whole essay could be written about the beauty, design and symbolism of this print. Created late in Kunisada's career, just ten years before his death, it belies the belief that his late works were weaker than his early ones. Most obvious are the gorgeous carp images both on his robe, but also the golden carp leaping up the waterfall to that fellow's right - our left. But there is more: click on the print so you can see a larger magnification of it and you will notice that above the signature cartouche on the right side is a picture of a lion gamboling among peonies. What is that about? We don't know, but hope to one day. Stay tuned. (JSV)
Tsujiya Yasubei (辻屋安兵衛) (publisher)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
Kawarazaki Gonjūrō I (初代河原崎権十郎: 9/1852 to 2/1869) (actor)