Artist: Kitagawa Toyohide (北川豊秀)

Print: Kataoka Gadō II (片岡我童) as Chishima Kanja Yoshihiro (千島冠者義広) in the play Keisei Satsumagushi [けいせい挟妻櫛] ('A Pledge of Affection and a Wife's Comb')

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Dates: created,1841
Dimensions: 10.0 in,14.75 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: color woodblock print

Signed: Kitagawa Toyohide ga (北川豊秀画)
Publisher: Honya Seishichi (Marks 123 - seal 25-527)

Related links: Hankyu Culture Foundation; Waseda University Library - 1830 ehon of the 'Keisei Satsumagushi';

Physical description:

This play was performed at the Kado Theater in Osaka in 9/1841. Unfortunately, little is known of this play. (See the link above to the 1830 ehon at the Waseda Library. It was illustrated and possibly written by Ryūsai Shigeharu (1802-52).


"The animated composition relies in part on the strong diagonal established by the cresting waves, à la Hokusai, in opposition to the slanting metallic rain."

Barely a dozen designs are known by Toyohide, and impressions in good condition are rare. Formerly in the Okada Collection (featured in Kuroda Genji's 1929 "Kamigata-e Ichiran" Review of Kamigata Pictures).


Illustrated in:

1) Ikeda bunko, Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei, vol. 3, 2001, #216.

2) "Hokusai's Great Waves in Nineteenth-Century Japanese Visual Culture" by Christine M. E. Guth, The Art Bulletin, Vol. 93, no. 4, December, 2011, p. 474.

Guth wrote, in regard to this print:

Hokusai's visual rhetoric underlines the fact that in Under the Wave off Kanagawa the wave's authority depends not simply on its scale but also on its singularity. In his design, Hokusai has tailored the visual tools that woodblock print artists customarily deployed to celebrate glamorous courtesans and Kabuki actors to devise a superstar wave. While modern viewers may liken the wave to the freeze-frame image captured by by the camera, in the context of the nineteenth century, it would be more appropriate to see it as nature imitating art. The great wave performs much as does an actor when he strikes a dramatic pose, or mie, at the high point of a Kabuki play. Recognition of this commonality is evident in a clever print issued in Osaka, where the frozen form of Hokusai's great wave serves as a dramatic double for the stop-action pose, mie, of a Kabuki actor onstage.