Comparison of the Spirits of Able Men

(Date otoko kishô kurabe, 達男気性竸)

Publisher: Ise-ya Ichibei

c. 1850


This series consists of five prints with three-quarter length portraits of kabuki actors as the five otokodate (“street-knights” or chivalrous commoners).  The series title is given in a blue oblong cartouche in the right upper comer.  The name of the otokodate is given in a red oblong cartouche alongside the title cartouche.  The upper part of the prints contains a short, signed poem.  This series is listed as number 172 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.



Actor: Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII as Fukami Jûzaemon wearing a kimono is decorated with the mythical phoenix

Poet: Kumoien

Schaap: 16.1



Another state of the above design


I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this keyblock print for the above design.


Actor: Sawamura Sôjûrô V as Tsurigane Yazaemon wearing a kimono is decorated with a snail, several small buttons and kanji

Poet: Tountei

Schaap: 16.2



Actor: Nakamura Utaemon IV as Konjin Chôgorô (金神長五郎) wearing a kimono is decorated with niô  (a pair of statues that stand guard outside the gates of most Japanese Buddhist temples)

Poet: Umeya

Schaap: 16.3


Another state of the above design


Actor: Ichimura Uzaemon XII as Shôki Hanbei wearing a kimono is decorated with bell-cords and demon heads

Poet: Shoyutei

Schaap: 16.4


Actor: Iwai Kumesaburô III as Shirai Gonpachi (白井権八) wearing a kimono is decorated with an image of Ono no Komachi praying for rain

Poet: Hachikyen Hanamori

Schaap: 16.5


Schaap” refers to listing in Heroes and Ghosts: Japanese Prints by Kuniyoshi by Robert Schaap (Hotei Publishing, Leiden, 1998).