The actor Segawa Kikunojo II as the courtesan Maizuru in the play Furisode Kisaragi Soga (Soga of the Long, Hanging Sleeves in the Second Month)
Performed at the Ichimura Theater from the twentieth day of the second month, 1772
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Creator Name: Ippitsusai Buncho
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: Japanese; fl. c.1755-1790 Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Active Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Ippitsusai Buncho
Title: The actor Segawa Kikunojo II as the courtesan Maizuru in the play Furisode Kisaragi Soga (Soga of the Long, Hanging Sleeves in the Second Month)
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1772
Creation End Date: 1772
Creation Date: Performed at the Ichimura Theater from the twentieth day of the second month, 1772
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Hosoban: 30.2 x 13.8 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Ippitsusai Buncho gaARTIST'S SEAL: Mori uji
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1925.2524
Credit Line: The Art Institute of Chicago, The Clarence Buckingham Collection
Context: A hand?written inscription in the top right?hand corner of the print identifies the actor and role: Segawa Kikunojo II as the courtesan Maizuru at the Ichimura Theater in the spring of Meiwa 9 (I772). He wears a kimono with a pattern of 'dancing crane' (maizuru) roundels - referring to the character's name - and leads an ox, which has one horn jauntily sporting a peony. This was a very special occasion for Kikunojo II, marking his return to the stage after an illness that had begun the previous summer. To celebrate his recovery, the Ichimura Theater and theater teahouses treated the production as if it was the season's opening (kaomise) that he had missed in the eleventh month of the previous year. The theatrical record Kabuki Nempyo describes the elaborate preparations:'The first day of the performance was planned for the twentieth of the second month, and on the night of the nineteenth all the teahouses hung out branches of red plum from which were tied round blue lanterns decorated with Kikunojo's crests, 'bundle of floss silk' (yuiwata) and 'butterfly on a chrysanthemum' (kiku-cho). It was just like the last day of the tenth month [the night before the gala] in a normal year. In front of the theater were piled up gifts of thirty-?three rice steamers,with a deco?ration of a treasure ship on top; also a presenta?tional curtain, and thirty?three sake kegs, with a decoration of Mt. Fuji on top of that. There was dried bonito fish on freshly planed wooden stands. Up on the drum turret at the front of thetheater they put a huge square kite, which had a red back?ground with Kikunojo's 'bundle of floss silk' crest in white relief. On the kite was written 'full house'(o?iri) in large characters, and it was decorated with a tail and string just like the realthing.... 'It is also recorded that last-?minute rehearsals and the opening day's performances were observed by no less august a person than the retired feudal lord Matsudaira Munenobu (Nankai, 1729-1782).Being a New Year play, the plot was a variation on the evergreen theme of the revenge of the Soga brothers, Juro and Goro, on their father's murder, Kudo Suketsune. Apparently Kikunojo II as Maizuru made his entry via a trap door in the stage, leading the (real-life?) ox with Onoe Kikugoro I as Kudo Suketsune seated on its back while a host of other characters lined the hanamichi walkways on both sides of the audience to deliver their lines. After all had proceeded to the stage, and Juro and Goro had made their entrance carrying hobbyhorse, no less thatn twelve starts formed a glittering lineup surrounding the central tableau. An advance publicity handbill (tsuji banzuke) gives a good idea of what this crowded array must have looked like (see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, fig. 19.2, p.87).Doubtless because it was such an extraordinary theatrical event, Buncho designed a second hosoban print of Maizuru and the ox (see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, fig. 19.1, p.87). Competing publishers must have been very keen to offer for sale portraits of Kikunojo IIin this talked-of production.The production, though overwhelmingly successful, was short-lived: on the night of the twenty-ninth - just ten days into the run - fire broke out at the Daien Temple in Meguro and soon destroyed large areas of the city, including the Nakamura and Ichimura theaters. Not long afterward Kikunojo II's health once more deteriorated, and he passed away in the spring of the following year, without ever returning to the stage.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1925.2524
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
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