Okumura Toshinobu
Ichikawa Danjūrō II as Soga Gorō and Sodezaki Miwano as Shōshō in a Stage Scene of a Soga Drama

Signed: Nihon gakō Okumura Toshinobu hitsu. Publisher’s seal: Shinmei Izutsuya hanmoto. hosoban, 33.8 x 16.2 cm; urushi-e with karazuri and metallic pigments

The actor Ichikawa Danjūrō II and the onnagata Sodezaki Miwano in a scene from Yuzuriha Gongen Soga which premiered in Edo in 1727, in which the hero is just told by his beloved Shōshō, where his father’s murderer can be found. Their body language and the billowing curtain underline the drama of the moment. This well-preserved print seems to be the only one of this motif to still exist.

Provenance: Garland (Parke-Bernet, New York); Walter Bareiss; R.E.Lewis, San Fransisco (November 1972)
Riese Collection #6

Gorō, the younger, stronger, and more impetuous of the Soga brothers has vowed to be revenged upon Kudō Suketsune who he regards with some justice as his father’s murderer. With the collusion of the government and, in some versions of the story, the cooperation of Kudō himself, the brothers resolved to make their attempt on the plains below Mt. Fuji where the shôgun Yoritomo and his retainers, including Kudō, are hunting boar. Gorō is engaged to marry Kewaizaka no Shōshō, a young entertainer. To help her lover, she has entered Kudō’s encampment. In this scene she has lifted the curtain surrounding the encampment, emblazoned with the Minamoto crest, the shôgun’s clan, and approaches Gorō who is kneeling in ceremonial dress, with a tea cup and valuable information.
This is a particularly fine impression and design. No other impression of the print seems to be known.