Hirosada, Actors in the Play Dojima Sukui no Tatehiki

Konishi Hirosada (ca 1810 - 1864) Actors in the Play Dôjima Sukui no Tatehiki, 1850. Chuban Triptych.

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This very lovely Osaka triptych by Hirosada shows the actors Nakamura Utaemon IV as Kurofune Chuemon to the right, Jitsukawa Enzaburo I as Hanjimon Kihei in the centre, and Nakayama Nanshi II as Chuemon's wife Omasa to the left. Delicately drawn, and coloured, the triptych shows the interior of a house. The figure on the right, Kurofune Chuemon (the playwright’s name for the actual character, Nezu Shiroemon) is a gangster leader or otokodate; these gangs were wildly popular in folklore… reputedly defending the poor against the police and the authorities and the samurai. The truth was rather different and police reports from the time show the otokodate to be no different to thugs and gangsters all over the world. Nevertheless, they gave playwrights endless plots and heroes.

Nezu Shiroemon (Chuemon) became famous in the late eighteenth century for tracking a thief to a bridge and forcing him to return some stolen money. It was these sorts of stories that made heroes out of the gang leaders. Plays like Dojima Sukui no Tatehiki were spin offs creating new stories and helping to establish the character of the otokodate.

There is some slight uneven trimming, but colour and impression are fine. Three sheets attached and mounted on album backing

55cm x 25cm.