Ginko, More Storytelling - Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Kouchiyama

Ginko Adachi (active 1874 - 1897) Ichikawa Danjuro IX as Kouchiyama, from the series More Storytelling, 1874. Oban.

This is a rare and unusual print from an artist better known for his war reportage and the work he produced in the mainly western style of the late Meiji. The print (as the style and the drawing indicate) is from the beginning of Ginko’s active artistic career. This print, whose style derives much from Kunichika and Kunisada’s theatrical prints, is from a series which illustrates great heroes and famous characters from the stage. Like so many others, it depicts the famous Danjuro IX  in the role of a popular robber hero, Kouchiyama. The specific play is maybe lost now, but the character is dressed in the role of a priest. Danjuro played Kouchiyama in the play Kumo ni Magou Ueno no Hatsuhana in 1881. In the play Kouchiyama disguises himself as a priest in order to rescue a pawnbroker's daughter from the clutches of the evil Daimyo. This piece is a clear precursor to that role.

Danjuro wears the white undergarment, red robes and shaven head of a Buddhist priest. Ginko shows his familiar features (see the other prints on this page for further portraits) and the name of the character in the cartouche above his head. The figure is in the act of folding his legs, pipe in hand, staring out of the print in dramatic mid-pose. Ginko uses the strong Meiji pallette that was popular at the time - the vibrant green background against the scarlet of the robes. Condition, impression and colour are all fine. 

The story of Kouchiyama was made into a highly regarded film, Kochiyama Soshun, in 1936 by Sadao Yamanaka.

Published by Gusokuya.

24cm x 36cm.