Twenty-four Selected Paragons of Filial Piety

(Mitate nijűshi k˘, 見立廾四孝)

Publisher: Kakumoto-ya Kinjir˘



The book entitled ôThe Twenty-four Paragons of Filial Pietyö was written by the Chinese scholar Guo Jujing during the Yuan Dynasty.á His pen-name was Yizi, and he is known in Japan as Kaku Kyokei.á The book recounts the self-sacrificing behavior of twenty-four sons and daughters who go to extreme lengths to honor their parents, stepparents, grandparents, and in-laws.á This series pairs scenes from kabuki plays with one of the twenty-four paragons of filial piety suggested by the scene.á It is listed as number 170 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).á The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ˘ban, and the total number of prints in the series is unknown.


Paragon of filial piety: Taishun (Tĺa Shun in Chinese) is being helped by elephants and birds cultivate his parentsĺ fields.

Kabuki scene: actor Band˘ Shűka I standing next to an elephant holding a staff

Date: 10th month of 1855


Paragon of filial piety: ďsh˘ (Wang Hsiang in Chinese) went to a frozen pond and lay naked on the ice until it melted in order to catch fish for his stepmother

Kabuki scene: actor Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VIII as Heiji with a large straw hat looking down into the water from an outcropping on the bank

Date: 10th month of 1855


Paragon of filial piety: ďh˘ (王褒, Wang Pĺou in Chinese) at his motherĺs grave during thunder storms to comfort her spirit, because she had feared lightning while alive

Kabuki scene: Actor Nakamura Fukusuke I (Nakamura Shikan IV) as Sadajin Shihei-ko subduing two attackers in the cart stopping scene from the play Sugawara denju tenarai kagama (The Secret of Sugawaraĺs Calligraphy)

Date: 10th month of 1855


Paragon of filial piety: R˘raishi (老荘子, Lao Lai Tzu in Chinese) dressed and behaved like a young child to amuse his senile parents.

Kabuki scene: Iwai Kumesabur˘ III as O-Miwa (おみわ) dancing before two malicious and homely ladies-in-waiting, Nakamura Kantar˘ as くわんの局 and an unidentified actor as こうの局, at the palace of Soga Iruka, in the kabuki play ôImoseyama onna teikinö (Imoseyama, an Example of Womanly Virtue).á

Date: 6th month of 1855


Paragon of filial piety: Ky˘shi (姜詩, Chiang Shih in Chinese) about to catch fish for his aged mother

Kabuki scene: Actor Band˘ Shűka I as Kuzunoha kitsune peering into the water in the play Ashiya dauman ochi kagami

Date: 10th month of 1855


Paragon of filial piety: Chűyű (Chung Yu in Chinese) carrying ice on his back for his parents

Kabuki scene: Actors Band˘ Shűka I as Komachi and actor Iwai Kumesabur˘ III as Narihira eloping

Date: 10th month of 1855


Paragon of filial piety: Gom˘ (Wu Mŕng in Chinese) with smoking pot to keep mosquitoes away from his sleeping father

Kabuki scene: Actor Otani Tomoemon IV as villain fanning smoking fire at foot of actor Onoe Kikujir˘ II in female role

Date: 6th month of 1855


Paragon of filial piety: K˘kaku (Chiang Ko in Chinese)

Kabuki scene: Actor Iwai Kumesabur˘ III as Hatsuhana pulling actor Nakamura Fukusuke I (Nakamura Shikan IV) as her husband Iinuma Katsugor˘ in a cart, in a scene from Hakone reigen izari no adauchi

Date: 6th month of 1855