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Artist: Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞) / Toyokuni III (三代豊国)

Print: Scene from Shikake-sode Ukina no Kaemon [仕掛袖浮名替紋]
with Iwai Hanshirō V (岩井半四郎) as the geisha Kohina (芸者小雛) in the center,
Segawa Kikunojō V (瀬川菊之丞) as Onna-tayu Omine on the left,
and Bandō Mitsugorō III (坂東三津五郎) as Inanoya Hanbei on the right

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Dates: 1825,created
Dimensions: 30.375 in,14.875 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription:

Signed: Gototei Kunisada ga
五渡亭国貞画
Publisher: Matsumura Tatsuemon
(Marks 311 - seal 03-009)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Tokyo Metropolitan Library - center panel; Lyon Collection - Hokushū print of Inanoya Hanbei from 1822;

Physical description:

This triptych commemorates a performance at the Ichimura Theater in 3/1825. We do not know the theme of this particular play, but this is not unusual considering that the story-lines of most kabuki plays are lost to us.

This play probably finds its origins in the 'Koina-Hanbei plays' - "a series of puppet and kabuki works about the ill-fated lovers Koina and Hanbei, based on an apparently true story whose details are not clear. The historical persons were the geisha Koina of Ōtsu and Inanoya Hanbei, who sometime between 1704-10, committed double suicide near Karasaki no Matsu."

This story was first produced on the kabuki stage in 1766. In 1768 there were two Osaka puppet plays devoted to this theme: "...it concerned a townsman-turned-samurai named Inanoya Hanbei, who kills Tsutsumi Yagenji (of Yatōji) on account of Koina, and because of the death of his loyal servant, Sagobei, is able to escape, although his obligation (giri) to his fiancée Omiki leads him and Koina to commit double suicide."

What followed with a large number of plays that varied considerably from the original story line.

The source of this information comes from the New Kabuki Encyclopedia by Samuel L. Leiter, pp. 340-41.

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The geisha named 'Koina' and 'Kohina' are too close to be ignored. Both must represent the same woman.

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There is another print in the Lyon Collection, this one by Hokushū from 1822, of Inanoya Hanbei. Clearly these two prints, one from Osaka and the Edo triptych by Kunisada, are related thematically. (See the link above.)