Subject: Kataoka Gadō II as Akogi Heiji.
Date: 8/1848-early 1849, or 10/1851.1
Publisher’s, or print-seller’s seal: Kawayo
Collection: Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
More than once this print is found together with a chūban by Kunishige, which depicts Arashi Rikan III as Hirakawara Jirozō. Heiji and Jirozō are characters in the play Seishū Akogi ga ura, but a related performance with both Kataoka Gadō II and Arashi Rikan III is not known. On the two prints the name of the role is printed in a gold-coloured metallic pigment, the grey background has a black bokashi at top, and the signature-cartouches are identical. Also, the seal of Kawayo appears on some impressions of Kunishige’s print (see e.g. Matsudaira, S., Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei, vol. 3, pl. 273) and, curiously enough, is not found on any other print. Further, the portrayals on the two prints are placed in different frames, in the same way as is seen in Sadamasu’s chūban diptych published 7/1848. The signature-cartouches of that diptych are in the form of a stylised bat, just like the ones shown on the two prints discussed here. In spite of all that, it is not certain Sadamasu’s chūban print forms a diptych with the one by Kunishige. Neither can it be concluded that both portrayals are mitate published soon after 7/1848.
Although in regard to style Sadamasu’s print in question comes close to a number of his prints published between 7/1848 and mid 1849, a possible link with a performance that has taken place 10/1851 also should be mentioned here. That date the play Seishū Akogi ga ura was performed at the Chikugo Theatre, starring Kataoka Gadō II as Akogi Heiji. The actor Kataoka Ichizō I played the part of Hirakawara Jirozō.