[WIP] Meijin Choji

Kataoka Ichizō III as Kikkōya Kōbē (‘Kōbē of the Kokkōya shop’), Onoe Kikugorō V as Sashimonoshi Chōji & Bandō Shūchō II as Kōbē no tsuma Oryū (‘Kōbē’s wife Oryū) in the play “Meijin Choji” (the scene of the Murder at a Bank in Oshiage), staged at the Shintomo-za theatre from October 1895

I don’t have the synopsis for this play but it seems to have been a very popular play based on the book “Meijin Choji: Joiner” by Sanyūtei Enchō. The print shows Kōbē, a turtle shell seller, Chōji, the cabinet maker and Kōbē’s wife Oryū. 

Paul Morris Griffith, the great authority on kabuki filled in the blanks for me so it is better I just quote what he said, in his words: The character 「甲」within the hexagon is the crest of the Kikkōya (亀甲屋) shop. This play was based on a ‘rakugo’ narrative by the famous storyteller Sanyūtei Enchō 三遊亭圓朝, which, in turn, was loosely based on the short story ‘L’Assassin’ by Maupassant. Enchō’s story was originally serialised in the Chūō Newspaper from the end of 1894. It proved so popular that it was quickly turned into a stage play the following year. The type of story was called ‘Ninjō Banashi’, a rather sentimental ‘rakugo’ story about human emotions.

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