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Kunisada - Tsuta Momiji Utsunoya Tôge
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Kunisada - Tsuta Momiji Utsunoya Tôge

$ 650.00

Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III) (1786-1864)

Play: Tsuta Momiji Utsunoya Tôge (The Utsunoya Pass) or Bun'ya Goroshi (The Murder of Bun'ya)

Description:   This play is about the murder of Bun'ya, a blind masseur, by Itamiya Jûbê, once a samurai and now in need of money to give to his former lord. At an inn, the blind masseur and the merchant happen to stay together in the same room. The thief Nisa, who has been stalking Bun'ya for several days, sneaks into the room to steal the masseur. Unfortunately for him, Jûbê is not asleep and catches the robber. Hearing that the masseur is carrying a great sum of money, Jûbê at first hopes Bun'ya will lend it to him. Winning Bun'ya's confidence, Jûbê offers to accompany the masseur as far as the dangerous Utsunoya Pass. They travel together and, approaching the Utsunoya Pass, Jûbê begs to borrow the money but Bun'ya says he cannot because his sister sold herself to a brothel in order to raise the money, which will enable him to buy his official license as a masseur. Finally the merchant ends up killing the masseur and makes off with the money after having hidden Bun'ya's body. The murder was observed by the thief Nisa. After Bun'ya's death, Jûbê returns to the tavern he owns, but is haunted by Bun'ya's ghost and ends up strangling his own wife whose shape the ghost takes at one point. A year later Nisa turns up to blackmail Jûbê, but he too becomes another of Jûbê's victims, and on this grisly note the play ends. (Referenced from Kabuki21)

Actors: Bandô Kamezô I as Itamiya Jûbê on the left and Ichikawa Kodanji IV as his wife in ghost form at Jûbê's tavern

 Theater: Ichimuraza

Date: 1856

Signed: Toyokuni ga, in toshidama cartouche

Size:  Diptych two sheets 14 3/4 x 20" (full scene)

Japanese woodblock print

Very good color and impression, minor soiling, two pieces of archival tape holding the two prints together

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