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No. 22 Odai (小田井): Teranishi Kanshin (寺西閑心) from the series Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidō Road (Kisokaidō rokujūkyū tsugi no uchi - 木曾街道六十九次之内)

Identifier: 1852 Kuniyoshi odai skeletons

"In the kabuki play Banzui Chōbei's Vegetarian Chopping Block (Banzui Chōbei shōjin manaita), first produced in 1803, Teranishi Kanshin is a wealthy samurai man-about-town and a rival of Chōbei and his friend Gonpachi... When Kanshin's follower Dotesuke is slightly injured in a fight with Chōbei's little son, the angry Kanshin poses Dotesuke in the shape of a fish to be eaten at a banquet and delivers him to Chōbei's home on the day of a family memorial service, when only vegetarian food should be eaten. In response to this elaborately staged insult, Chōbei first pretends that he will make sashimi of Dotesuke, and then places his own child on a chopping block and offers him to Kanshin to do with as he pleases. Kanshin is so moved by this gesture that he forgives Chōbei and becomes his ally.

Teranishi Kanshin's costume is as flamboyant as his behavior. He uses a skull as his crest, seen on the shoulders of his kimono and as the outline of the inset landscape. The main pattern of the kimono is a design is a design of skeletons, repeated in the series title border. The name of Odai station could suggest either the food stand (dai) on which Dotesuke in his fish disguise would be placed, or perhaps the large sea bream (ōdai) that he has been made to resemble.

Kuniyoshi has added a visual joke to the background of the print. The large straw-wrapped sake barrels near the entrance of Chōbei's house are marked with Kuniyoshi's own paulownia crest; and the trademark of the publisher of this print. Iseya Kanekichi (whose official mark is in the lower left corner, just below Kuniyoshi's paulownia seal), decorates the wooden sake containers behind them."

Quoted from: Utagawa Kuniyoshi: The Sixty-nine Stations of the Kisokaidō by Sarah E. Thompson, p. 60.


There is also a very small reproduction color reproduction of this print in Samurai Stars of the Stage and Beautiful Women: Kunisada and Kuniyoshi, Masters of the Color Woodblock Print by Hatje Cantz, Museum Kunstpalast, p. 260, #113.


Here is the description of Odai from Hiroshige.org:

The stretch of highway leading to Odai was through a desolate bushy field at the foot of Mt. Asama. Today this part is called Nishi-karuizawa. "Hime-no-yado" (Stage for Princesses), was the nickname of Odai because wives of princes and daimyos often took up their lodgings here.
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