JAPANESE PRINTS

A MILLION QUESTIONS

TWO MILLION MYSTERIES 

 

Ukiyo-e Prints

浮世絵版画

Port Townsend, Washington

 

 

Totoya Hokkei

 

 

魚屋北溪

 

 

ととや・ほっけい

 

 

1780-1850

 

 

Watōnai with a chanter

of the Takemoto school

 

 

Surimono keyblock print

 

 

Size: 8" x 8"

 

 

Date: 1818

 

 

Signed: Hokkei

 

 

Privately printed

 

 

Condition:

Full size, minor soiling,

album backing.

 

 

NO LONGER

AVAILABLE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Jōruri chanter of the Takemoto school is juxtaposed with Watōnai, the main character and hero of the puppet drama Kokusenya kassen (The Battles of Coxinga; 1715). The play was written by Chikamatsu Monzaemon (1653-1725), loosely based on the life and adventures of the Chinese general Coxinga (J. Kokusenya; C. Guoxingye, the nickname of Zheng Chenggong; 1624-62), who opposed Qing rule and eventually became ruler of Taiwan. In the play, Watōnai whose name implies 'between China and Japan', is a son of a Japanese mother and Chinese father. He is born in a Japanese fishing village and is raised as a fisherman but eventually travels to the continent, receives the name Kokusenya, repels Qing forces in a series of battles, and restores the Ming emperor to the throne. The playwright wrote several dramas specifically for the renowned chanter Takemoto Gidayū (1651-1714).

In the poem, iro refers to the 'colour' of bamboo (take, as part of Takemoto), as well as the 'tone or chanting style' (fushi no iro) of hte Takemoto school. In the context of Jōruri,  iromeans a special style between chanting and monologue.

 

tsuki no na no

Tarō Jirō mo

oshimarete

Tōdo e haru o

utsusazu mogana

 

I would miss

the first and second months,

name Tarō and Jirō,

and hope that spring

does not move to China.

-Tōkeien Matomo

 

Takemoto no

iro mo kawarade

hitofushi o

senri e okuru

tora no hatsuharu

 

Without changing

the Takemoto tenor,

a song is sent as far

as a thousand leagues

in early spring of the tiger.

-Chikujuan Jirō

 

The above information is taken directly from Reading Surimono: The Interplay of Text and Image in Japanese Prints edited by John T. Carpenter, p. 203.

 

 

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