Utagawa Yoshiiku (歌川芳幾) (artist mid 1830s - early 1900s)
'An Old Tale of Conflict in the East' (Mukashi gatari Azuma no tatehiki - 昔語東の立引) - Nakamura Shikan IV [四代目中村芝翫] as Yottsuibishi Chōgorō (四ツイ菱長五郎) on the right, Bandō Hikosaburō V [五代目坂東彦三郎] as Kogashira Mekurajimanohiko (小頭めくら島ノ彦) in the center, Bandō Kamezō I as the otokodate Kanehara and Ichikawa Ichizō III as Mitsuhiki Ichigorō (三ッ引市五郎) on the left
29 in x 14.25 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese woodblock print
Signed: Yoshiiku ga (on right and left sheets),
Ichieisai Yoshiiku ga (on center sheet)
Publisher: Ōmiya Kyūjirō
Censor's seal: Monkey 10 aratame (申十改)
Carver: Hori Yasu kokutō - 彫安刻刀
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Sarah E. Thompson noted that there had been a real-life brawl between firemen and sumō wrestlers in 1805. Surely this is a later theatrical re-enactment of this event.
There is another print in the Lyon Collection (#962) by Masamitsu Ota. It is illustrated in color in Andon 87 on page 99 and has this accompanying text: "The firefighter, played by the actor Ichimura Uzaemon XV, is Tatsugorō, one of the main characters in the Kabuki play A Quarrel in the Me Squad (Megumi no kenka). His role was modelled after a famous real-Iife fight between firemen and sumo wrestlers, which got badly out of hand. The worried expression on Tatsugorō's face reflects his fear of dying in the confrontation to come, leaving his wife and son behind."
On page 103 it says: "In 1805, during a sumo-wrestling tournament held at the Shinmei shrine in the Shiba district of Edo, a group of rowdy and drunken firefighters showed up, heckling the wrestler's show of strength. A savage brawl broke out, known as the 'Me brigade riot', leaving one firefighter dead and nearly 100 men injured."
Ōmiya Kyūjirō (近江屋久次郎) (publisher)
Nakamura Shikan IV (四代目中村芝翫: 7/1860 to January 1899) (actor)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
sumō (相撲) (genre)
Bandō Hikasaburō V (五代目坂東彦三郎) (actor)
Bandō Kamezō I (初代坂東亀蔵) (actor)
Ichikawa Ichizō III (三代目市川市蔵) (actor)