Postman Otokichi has arrived!

Kunichika: Nakamura Shikan as Hidari Jingorō, Iwai Hanshirō as Oyama Ningyō & Onoe Kikugorō as “Postman Otokichi” in an updated version of the play “Kyō Ningyō”, 1873/4

I really love this print because it sums up the Meiji period very nicely – a traditional play “Kyō Ningyō (Kyōto Doll)” has been updated to the modern day by the addition of a Meiji innovation – the postman! The play explores the story of a sculptor who after falling in love with a Courtesan makes a perfect reproduction of her as a doll. In this version the doll is delivered by the postman because the Japanese postal service was created in 1871 and this was an opportunity to update the play to the modern day.

In 2011 Kunichika’s portrayal of “Postman Otokichi” was actually used by the Japanese postal service on their anniversary commemorative stamps:

See original page on Coinect here.

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