Select Chûshingura

(Mitate Chôshingura, 見立挑灯蔵)

Publisher: Yamamoto-ya Heikichi

c. 1848


The series shows beautiful women in circumstances that suggest chapters of the kabuki play, “Kanadehon Chûshingura”.  It is unusual in that different scripts are used in the title cartouche, next to the paper lantern.  The series title uses chôchingura (挑燈蔵) instead of chûshingura (忠臣蔵).  This is a pun, as chôchingura can mean either lantern treasury or storehouse.  The series is listed as number 54 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.  I am grateful to Ward Pieters for assisting with this series.



Act: Prologue (Daijo, 大序)

Description: Woman holding a paper samurai helmet up out of reach of a child, who holds onto her robes and reaches towards her. A courtier’s hat with a paulownia crest is on the floor.

Lantern: Kira Yoshinaka



Act 2


Act 3


Act 4


Act 5


Act 6


Act 7


Act 8


Act 9


Act 10


Act 11


NOTE: The woman’s robe has a pauwlonia or kiri pattern which mimics the Kuniyoshi’s personal seal.