Famous Views of Edo Selected for the Twelve Months

(Edo meisho mitate jūnikagetsu no uchi roku jūni, 江戸名所十二ヶ月の内)

Publisher: Yahata-ya Sakujirō

1852

 

This series shows bust portraits of kabuki actors in character against landscapes.  Each print is associated with a different month.  The cartouche in the right upper corner is bordered by objects from the play.  This series is listed as number 210 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints in this series are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ōban.  I am indebted to Guy Pepermans and Ward Pieters for supplying the descriptions of these prints.

 

Number: 1

Location: Asakusa

Actor: Onoe Kikugorō IV as the courtesan Miyagino (宮城野)

Play: Go Taiheiki Shiraishi Banashi

 

 

Number: 2

Location: Ōji

Actor: Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII as Kosan no Kingorō

Play: Shinyoshiwara Suzume

Date of play: 10th month of 1852

Theater: Kawarasaki

 

 

Number: 3

Location: Fuwa District

Actor: Ichikawa Ebizō V as Fuwa Banzaemon (不破伴左衛門)

Play: Ukiyozuka Hiyoku no Inazuma

Date of play: 6th month of 1852

 

Number: 4

Location: Kameido

Actor: Bandō Hikasaburō IV (?) as the sake seller Teranishi Kanshin

Play: Sugawara denju Tenarai kagami

 

Number: 5

Location: Takanawa

Actor: Iwai Kumesaburō III as Ofune (おふ, daughter of the ferryman Tonbei)

Play: Shinrei Yaguchi no watashi (also known as Ofune)

 

Number: 6

Location: Sanno Festival

Actor: Nakamura Utaemon IV as Danshichi Kurobei

Play: Zōho Naniwa kagami

 

NOTE: This is a posthumous portrait from a play performed in the 7th month of 1845

 

Number: 7

Location: Sumida River

Actor: Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII as Motome (求女)

Play: Imoseyama onna teikin

Date of play: 2nd month of 1852

Theater: Kawarasaki

 

 

Number: 8

Location: Main gate of the Yoshiwara

Actor: Actor as Kaku no Kosan

Play:

 

Number: 9

Location: Sugamo

Actor: Actor as Tomoe Uchi

Play:

 

Number: 10

Location: Umi Shizuka Tera

Actor: Ichikawa Kodanji IV as Asakura

Play: Higashiyama Sakura sōshi (東山桜荘子, The Higashiyama Storybook)

Date of play: 8th month of 1851

Theater: Nakamura

 

 

Number: 11

Location: Hori no Uchi

Actor: Ichikawa Danjurō VIII as Katsuyori

Play: Honchō nijūshikō

 

Number: 12

Location: Ryōgoku

Actor: Bandō Hikasaburō IV as Ōboshi Yuranosuke

Play: Yayoi no hana iroha no honsetsu (宿花いろは本説)

Date of play: 3rd month of 1852

Theater: Nakamura

 

 

This is one of several series of prints Kuniyoshi designed consisting of bust portraits with irregularly shaped cartouches in the right upper corner.  In each of these series, the cartouche is bordered by small pictures.  The table below shows a typical cartouche from each of these series as well as the script within the cartouche that identifies the series.  The color of the cartouches is not a reliable guide to identifying the series, as it may vary with successive printings. 

English title: Mirror of the Loyal Courage of the Faithful Retainers

Japanese title: Chūshin giyū kagami

Description: Bust of an actor as one of the Forty-seven Rōnin with a landscape background

English title: Famous Views of Edo Selected for the Twelve Months

Japanese title: Edo meisho mitate jū-ni ka gwatsu no uchi

Description: Bust of actor with landscape in upper half of print above a stylized cloud

English title: Selection for the Twelve Signs

Japanese title: Mitate jūnishi no uchi

Description: Bust of an actor with a full-length figure of another actor in a landscape as a background

English title: Set of Views of Fuji from Edo in Iroha Order

Japanese title: Nanatsu iroha Tōto Fuji zukushi

Description: Actor’s bust with landscape showing Mount Fuji inserter in the left upper corner

English title: Celebrated Products of Mountains and Seas

Japanese title: Sankai medetai zue

Description: Bust of beautiful woman with insert of landscape showing provincial industry in left upper corner

NOTE: Various scripts were used in this series, but the two kanji shown at left are most consistent

English title: Thirty-six Fashionable Restaurants of the Eastern Capital

Japanese title: Tōto ryūkō san-jū-rokkwaiseki

Description: Bust of actor with restaurant in background

English title: Military Brilliance for the Eight Views

Japanese title: Yōbu hakkei

Description: Bust of a military hero in a landscape

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