N.1 ukiyo-e woodblock print
Year: 1861
Condition: good
Size: 24 x 34,5 cm



The man who, in this important woodblock print by the artist Utagawa Kunisada (歌川国貞), holds a hocho (包丁) knife between his teeth and shows off a magnificent tattoo of yaezakura (八重桜) “double” cherry blossoms is the young and charming Natsume Kozo Shinsuke (夏目子僧新助), hunter and fisherman as well as servant of the yakuza (ヤクザ) boss Iioka no Sukegoro (飯岡助五郎), the leader of a gambling gang in the Shimosa Province (下総国), in the modern Chiba Prefecture (千葉県).

The print, in which the protagonist is played by the actor Iwai Kumesaburo III (三代目岩井粂三郎) and is presented with a quick biography signed by the writer and journalist Nozaki Bunzo (野崎文蔵), better known to the public under the pseudonym Kanagaki Robun (仮名垣魯文), is taken from the series “A Modern Suikoden” (近世水滸伝), a referring to the famous Chinese novel “Shui Hu Zhuan” (水浒传), literally “The Story by the Water Margin”, which tells the adventurous epic of a gang of 108 outlaws.

The woodcut, produced in July 1861 by the publisher Iseya Kanekichi (伊勢屋兼吉) and by the carver Matsushima Masakichi (松島政吉), despite the right signs of aging, a small restoration in the upper left corner and a partial trimming of the margins, is in overall good conditions.