Alphabetical Tales of Glory and Decline: Seki Sanjurō III as Boatman (Sendō) Gonshirō and Bandō Shūka I as Ofude

Accession Number

Alphabetical Tales of Glory and Decline: Seki Sanjurō III as Boatman (Sendō) Gonshirō and Bandō Shūka I as Ofude

Utagawa Kuniyoshi

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
woodblock print on paper

30 3/4 in x 14 1/4 in (78.11 cm x 36.2 cm)

Subject matter
Alphabetical Tales of Glory and Decline (Hiragana Seisuiki) was originally written for bunraku puppet theater and first premiered in 1739. It is a dramatic telling of the Genpei Seisuiki, one of the medieval texts that gives the account of the twelfth-century battles between the Taira and Minamoto clans. This scene depicts two commoners, Ofude, a maid in a high-ranking household, and Gunshirō, a fisherman and father-in-law of the play’s main character, Matsuemon—who is actually a high-ranking Minamoto warrior.

Actor Bandō Shūka I also held the name Bandō Mitsugorō V. He was born in 1813 and active from 1824 until shortly before his death in 1854. He was known for both period and contemporary plays and for his portrayal of young onnagata, a word that means “female form” or “female role”. Seki Sanjūrō III was born in 1805 and began acting in the late 1810s. He died in 1871.

Physical Description
A woman kneels in front of a man. The woman wears dark red and purple robes. There is a sword at her left hip, and she holds her right hand out toward the man behind her. The man has grey hair and wears short blue and yellow robes. He also has a sword and is barefoot. The background behind them is water.

This is the left panel of a triptych (with 2011/2.193.2 and 2011/2.192.3).

I​nscriptions: Sendō Gonshirō; Ofude; Kuniyoshi ga (Artist's signature); To (Publisher's seal); Hama, Magome (Censor's seals)

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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theater (discipline)

2 Related Resources

Kabuki Images
(Part of 10 Learning Collections)
Theater and Drama
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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