Iris-colored Hatsuneya: Iwai Kumesaburō III as Yamatoya Enshi

Accession Number

Iris-colored Hatsuneya: Iwai Kumesaburō III as Yamatoya Enshi

Utagawa Kunisada

Artist Nationality
Japanese (culture or style)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
woodblock print on paper

14 3/4 in x 30 in (37.47 cm x 76.2 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Sharlynn and Andrew Circo, in memory of Sotokichi Katsuizumi

Subject matter
This play was only staged once, in the fourth month of 1861.  Hatsuneya was the name of a famous palanquin store in Edo (Tokyo).   The names for each of the characters are made up of the yagō (stage name) and haimyō (poet’s pen name) for each of the actors.  In this print, for example, Iwai Kumesaburō's yagō is Yamatoya and his haiyō is Enshi.  The lanterns across the three panels of the tryptich together read, Soga Ryosha, which refers to an earlier play, Soga ryosha gosairei (曽我両社御祭礼), on which this play seems to be based.

The actor, Iwai Kumesaburō III, was also known as Iwai Hanshirō VIII.  He was born in 1829 and active from the time he was a child in the early 1830s.  He became famous for his performances as an onnagata, a word which means "women's role" or "women's form."  He died in 1882.

Physical Description
In this print, a woman wields a large cross-shaped pole, looking over her right shoulder.  To her left, a litter rests on the dock with a canopy of cherry blossoms.  Above her are two red paper lanterns; the one on the right has the character “sō”; the lantern on the left has the character “ware”.

This is the right panel of a triptych.

Inscription: Hanmoto, Izutsuya (Publisher's seal); Tori [Rooster] 4 aratame (Censor's seals); Yamatoya Enshi

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
human figures (visual works)
lanterns (lighting devices)
theater (discipline)

3 Related Resources

"Japan", Gender, etc.
(Part of: body, physicality and form; mod/contemporary religious imagery (Asia Galleries Winter 2022 DRAFT))

& Author Notes

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