Five Modern Women

(Tôsei gonin musume, 當盛五人娘)

Publisher: Echizen-ya Heisaburô (seal name Shiba Kohei, 司馬 越平)

Late 1830s


In this series, the series title is in the body of the print while the cartouche contents are descriptive.  Each cartouche contains two names, the first of which is the female depicted in the print, the other is her unseen male counterpart in a doomed relationship.  Although not listed in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961), this series is listed in Publishers of Japanese Woodblock Prints: A Compendium by Andreas Marks (2011, Hotei Publishing, Leiden, p. 115). The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.  I am grateful to Robert Pryor for his contributions to this series.



Female role: Osome (おそめ)

Male role: Hisamatsu (久松)

Play: Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri




Female role: Konami (力弥) at a table doing calligraphy

Male role: Rikiya (小浪)

Play: Kanadehon Chûshingura




Female role: Oshichi (於七) with her kimono in her mouth

Male role: Kichisaburô (𠮷三郎)

Play: These characters appeared in several plays.


I am grateful to Louise Holmlund for this image.


Female role: Ohan (おはん) standing on a bench

Male role: Chôemon (長右衛門)

Play: Katsuragawa Renri no Shigarami



Female role: Oshiyun (おしゆん) stringing her shamisen

Male role: Probably Denbei

Play: These characters appeared in several plays.



“Robinson” indicates listing in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson, 1961, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.