this woodblock is during acte5 in the kabuuki piece named Sannin Kichisa Kuruwa no Hatsugai ,when Ojo Kichisa (おしやう吉三) and Osho kichisa (重三郎) tired to suicide they were stop by r Obo Kichisa (おぼう吉三).
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This print is taken from the piece Sannin Kichisa Kuruwa no Hatsugai 三人吉三廓初買 (the three thieves whose name is kichisa). This is the story of a 100 ryo theft and a Koshinmaru wakizashi that brings together three different thieves who discover that their last name is the same. They decided to make a blood oath together because of this similar last name. The play revolves around this criminal blood tie which unites them until their death. It is a play in 7 acts and it was performed in the first lunar month of the year 1860.
the actors are :
In the role of Obo Kichisa (おぼう吉三 / お坊吉三) who is a ronin is played by Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (九代目市川團十郎) (November 29, 1838 - September 13, 1903) is a great actor of the time Meiji.
In the role of those who want to practice seppuku, there is Ojo Kichisa (おしやう吉三 / お嬢吉三) who plays a former actor turned thief is played by Iwai Hanshirō VIII (岩井半四郎 8 代目), on 02 October 1829-19 February 1882, he is part of a great line of artist.
And the last actor is Ichikawa Kodanji IV (市川小團次) lacking the great attributes of a kabuki actor (powerfull voice , taller ..), he was one of the best during the Edo period to play male roles. He plays a a thief and who disguised himself as a priest, his name is (重三郎 / 和尚吉三).
Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞, 1786- January 12, 1865) also known as Utagawa Toyokuni III (三代歌川豊国) is one of the most popular ukiyoe painters of the 19th century and also one of the most prolific and having most successful financially, ahead of Kuniyoshi 国芳 and Hiroshige 広重. Utagawa Kunisada was born in Edo in 1786. His father, who died the following year, was an amateur poet of little reputation. He was accepted around 1800 as an apprentice by one of the greatest masters of drawing on wooden boards, Toyokuni. He began by making prints of actors, Bijin-ga, sumo-e, landscapes and warriors. He also produces a large number of shunga (erotic engravings). He is said to have produced more than 20,000 prints. In 1844-1845, Kunisada Utagawa changed his artist name, taking the name of his master, Toyokuni, and thus became Toyokuni III. He died in Edo after having trained several students such as Toyohara Kunichika 豊原国周 and Utagawa Kunisada II 歌川国定.
|era||edo period 1603-1867|
|signature||toyokuni III 豊国画|
|pièce||Sannin Kichisa Tomoe no Shiranami|