Female Samurai
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Category: Women Warriors

Accession Number: DFJN.2021.WW013

Title (Original): ソガのヒロイン・トラゴゼン
Title: soga no hiloinghtragosen
Translated Title: The Heroine Toragozen in Soga
Also recorded as The Heroine Tora Gozen (Fuji Arts Inc. web-site)

One of 18 prints published from 1922 to 1923 as part of the celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the death of Chikamatsu Manzaemon (1623 -1724), perhaps the greatest dramatist in the history of the Japanese theatre. Each design illustrates a scene or character from one of Chikamatsu’s famous works.

Artist (Original):
Artist: Ishikawa Toraji (1875-1964)
Medium: Japanese woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and colour on light tan coloured paper
Signature: Unknown
Seal: tora seal
Publisher (Original):
Publisher: Dai Chikamatsu zenshū kankōkai (the Complete Work of Chikamatsu
Publishing Association)

Engraver: Yamagishi Kazue (1893-1996)
Printer: Nishimura Kumakichi
Publication Date:  c. 1922-1923

Acquisition Date: 23 / 11 / 2021

Country of origin: Japan

Size: dai-ōban. 8 ¾” x 15” (inches) 22.5 x 38cm

Condition: Excellent colour and detail. Slight toning, a few small spots, slight soilin at edges.
A few creases.

The Story of Yotsugi Soga (The Soga Heir)
Source: The Major Plays of Chikamatsu, translated by Donald Keene, Columbia University Press, 1961, p.4.
Chikamatsu’s career as a dramatist probably began I 1683 when, at the age of thirty, he wrote the puppet play The Soga Successors for the chanter Uji Kaga-no-jo. The Soga Successors (Yotsugi Soga) was highly acclaimed, and the great chanter Takemoto Gidayu (1651-1714) used it to open his theatre in Osaka in 1684.

Source: City of Amagasaki website devoted to Chikamatsu, http://www.city.amagasaki.hyogo.jp/tikamatsu/english.C2_p1.html
The Soga brothers take revenge on their father’s enemy, Kudo Suketsune. However, the older brother, Juro, dies in the fighting, and the younger one, Goro, receives the death sentence after being treated like an animal at a hunting site by Shingai no Arashiro and Arai Toda.  Asahina no Saburo, a relative of the Soga Family, becomes enraged by this and tells the retainers of the Soga, Onio and Dozaburo brothers to avenge their lord by killing these men. Onio, Dozaburo, Tora (the lover of Juro) and Shosho (the lover of Goro) kill Arashiro and Toda with the support of Asahina no Saburo. Juro’s son Sukewaka was made the lord of the province of the Soga family which is controlled by Minamoto no Yoritomo (the first shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate), and becomes the Soga Family heir.

Collections: The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints
The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University

References: The Female Image: 20th Century Prints of Japanese Beauties, Amy Riegle Newland and Hamanaka Shinji, Abe Publishing Ltd and Hotei Publishing, 2000, p.203, pl.7.



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