Important Cultural Property
By Tōshūsai Sharaku
(Some of the works of thePortraits of actors at three theaters in Edo
Large Nishikie (wood engraving print)
Edo period/Kansei 6 (1794)
Tokyo National Museum
This picture depicts a scene of a kabuki program called "Koinyobo Somewake Tazuna" performed by the Kawarasaki troupe in May 1794.
The "Koinyobo Somewake Tazuna" is a story of love between Date no Yosaku and Shigenoi and the tragedy surrounding their love with a family problem with the Yurugis as a background: Date no Yosaku, retainer of the Yurugi family, had a ransom to buy the freedom of geisha Iroha, the young lord's lover, stolen by Washizuka Yaheiji and his conspirators. What is worse, his love affair with Shigenoi, a lady's maid, was disclosed and consequently, he was driven out of the Yurugi family. Takemura Sadanoshin, the father of lady's maid Shigenoi and a Noh performer, committed seppuku (hara-kiri) in apology for the trouble his daughter's scandal had caused the Yurugi family. In deference to his seppuku, Shigenoi was excused and became the nurse of the princess of the family. Later, Shigenoi met a child called Sankichi, a pack-horse driver and found that he was the child between Yosaku and herself. However, she left without telling him that she was his mother (an act of "Shigenoi Kowakare"). Soon, the wicked deeds of Washizuka and his conspirators were disclosed. Yosaku and Sankichi defeated him and were accepted again by the Yurugi family.
This picture depicts the scene where Date Yosaku's servant, Ippei, was attacked by Edobei.