The actor Nakamura Tomijuro I as Hangaku Gozen breaking down the gate in the play Wada-gassen Onna Maizuru (The Wada Conflict: A Woman's 'Maizuru')
Performed at the Nakamura Theater from the twenty-fifth day of the seventh month, 1777
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Creator Name: Katsukawa, Shunsho
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: Japanese; 1726-1792 Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Active Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Katsukawa Shunsho
Title: The actor Nakamura Tomijuro I as Hangaku Gozen breaking down the gate in the play Wada-gassen Onna Maizuru (The Wada Conflict: A Woman's 'Maizuru')
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1777
Creation End Date: 1777
Creation Date: Performed at the Nakamura Theater from the twenty-fifth day of the seventh month, 1777
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Hosoban; 30.5 x 14.4 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Shunsh ga
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1939.620
Credit Line: Frederick W. Gookin Collection
Context: The Wada Conflict is based on historical events of the power struggle between the Hojo and Wada families for control of the Kamakura shogunal government in the early years of the thirteenth century, after the death of the first Kamakura shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-1199). The play was written for the puppet stage in 1736, adapted for Kabuki in Osaka in 1763, and first performed in Edo on the occasion depicted in this print, at the Nakamura Theater during the seventh month of 1777.Egara no Heita is sent by both the Wada and Hojo families as an envoy to the shogunal court of Minamoto no Sanetomo, to bid for the hand of the shogun's daughter, Princess Itsuki. Heita himself has amorous designs on the princess, and when these are repulsed he murders herin an access of rage and makes his escape. The vassal Asari no Yoichi rushes to the shogun's assistance, but because his wife, Hangaku Gozen, is a cousin of the murderer Heita, the gates of the castle are barred to him. On the spot, Yoichi divorces Hangaku. To demonstrate her sterling loyalty toward her husband, Hangaku Gozen undertakes to break down the gates of the castle single-handed. This is the climactic scene we see depicted in Shunsho's print.Nakamura Tomijuro I, whose occasional interpretations of 'martial women' (onna budo) roles were much appreciated, is shown in the classic 'gate-breaking' (mon yaburi) pose. In order to express the Herculean effort necessary for Hangaku - as a woman - to accomplish such a feat, Tomijuro I braces a halberd (naginata) tightly under his arm. Planting his feet wide apart, he pushes against the door with all his might with the other hand. The ties that hold the kimono sleeves out of the way are fluttering wildly Shunsho's device to express the force being unleashed. The unusual frontal angle of the face also has the effect of confronting the viewer with Hangaku's rock-solid determination. Vibrant colors predominate, including an orange lead pigment (tan) used for the gate frame.'A Woman's Maizuru'(Onna Maizuru), the subtitle of the play, alludes to the actual historical event being parodied in this scene: the breaking down of a gate during the Wada conflict by the warrior Kobayashi no Asahina (the common name of Wada Saburo Yoshihide). As a character in the 'Soga'plays performed every New Year, Asahina is well known to Kabuki audiences. Since one of Asahina's crests is the stylized dancing crane (maizuru), 'A Woman's Maizuru' signifies 'A Woman's Version of Asahina Breaking Down the Gate.' In fact Hangaku's pinkouter kimono is decorated with one more of Asahina's crests - three white bars across a circle - in yet another visual clue to the parallel being drawn with the exploits of the famous warrior.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1939.620
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
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