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Maker(s):Utagawa Kunisada (Toyokuni III); Tsutaya Kichizō, publisher
Culture:Japanese (1786–1864); Japanese (active ca. 1820–1890)
Title:The Actor Kataoka Gadō II as the Priest Seigen Dōshin from the play "Hanabutai banjaku Soga"
Date Made:1855
Materials:woodblock print
Measurements:overall: 14 in x 9 1/2 in; 35.6 cm x 24.1 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2005.239
Credit Line:Gift of William Green
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

yakusha-e; nishiki-e; one panel of a vertical ōban triptych

Label Text:
This print is signed at lower-right "Toyokuni ga" ('drawn by Toyokuni') within a red toshidama cartouche. Immediately above the seal is the circular aratame seal of the censor and the date seal, which identifies the date of approval as the third lunar month of 1855 (Ansei 2). The use of both the aratame and the date seal was conventional from ca. 1853–1857. Below the artist's signature is the seal of the publisher, Tsutaya Kichizō of the firm Kōeidō. At top left in the yellow cartouche is the name of the character, Seigen Dōshin, a priest who appears most famously in the play "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunshō," of which this play is a different version. The play tells the story of a tragic love between a priest and his male acolyte who commits suicide in hopes of being reincarnated as a female, thus enabling him to marry Seigen Dōshin. Though the acolyte returns in the guise of the beautiful Sakura Hime, the rest of the play is filled with gruesome and tragic events, including rape, infanticide, and accidental impalement. The scene depicted here by Kunisada takes place mid-way through the play, when Seigen Dōshin has been punished for his affair with Sakura Hime and has been condemned to a life of poverty, hence his tattered garments and hat.

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