Kanadehon Chûshingura

(仮名手本 忠臣蔵 and 假手本 忠臣蔵)

Publisher: Edo-ya Matsugorô



This series shows scenes from the kabuki play Kanadehon Chûshingura.  It is not listed in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints are each about 10 by 14 inches (25 by 36 centimeters), a size known as ôban.


Act: 1

Scene: Lady Kaoyo bowing towards Moronao (in black) with Enya and Wakasa at his side

Act: 2

Scene: Ichikawa Danjûrô VIII as Rikiya (son of Oboshi Yuranosuke) meeting Konami (daughter of Kakogawa Honzô) in Yoichibei’s home


NOTE: I am grateful to Marc DeVriese for this image.  The screen is signed by Kuniyoshi’s student Yoshimune (芳宗).  The design was reprinted in a simplified form with a dogtooth and tomoe (comma-like heraldic device) border added:


Act: 3

Scene: Okaru and a group of ruffians

Another state with a blue kimono

Act: 4

Scene: Actor Ichikawa Danzô V as Yuranosuke outside the castle holding the dirk with which his lord had performed seppuku


NOTE: The publisher’s and censor’s seals are faintly visible near the left lower corner

Act: 5

Scene: Sadakurô (actor Ichikawa Sumizô III) robbing Yoichibei (actor Matsumoto Taisuke)

Act: 6

Scene: Kampei receiving Yagoro and Goyemon at the door of Yoichibei’s hut    

Act: 7

Scene: Yuranosuke being observer playing the fool at the Ichiriki Teahouse in Kyoto in order to allay suspicion that he was plotting revenge

Act: 8

Scene: On the bridal journey, Konami and her mother Tonase are resting under a tree with Mount Fuji in the background

Act: 9

Scene: Konami (left), Tonase and Kakogawa Honzô (right) at Yuranosuke’s house


NOTE: This is a scene from the 1835 production of Kanadehon Chûshingura at the Morita Theater.  The actors are Morita Kan'ya X as Konami (小なみ), Sawamura Tosshô I as Tonase (となせ), and Ichikawa Danzô V as Honzô (本蔵).  I am grateful to Horst Graebner for information about this print.

Act: 10

Scene: The rônin testing Amakawaya Gihei’s loyalty in his shop


NOTE: Gihei has the features of kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizô V

Another state of the above design

Act: 11, Scene 1

Scene: The rônin in the snow surrounding Moronao with Ichimura Uzaemon XII as Kazuemon, Onoe Matsusuke III as Yomoshichi, Onoe Kikugorô III as Moronao, and Ichikawa Ebizô V as Yuranosuke.


I am grateful to Robert Pryor for this information.

Act: 11, Scene 2

Scene: Yuranosuke and the rônin laying Moronao’s severed head on their lord’s tomb at the Sengaku Temple (十一段目 泉岳寺)