The actor Ichikawa Sadanji I as Sano Jirozaemon

Sano Jirozaemon, a farmer, was disfigured with smallpox and believed no woman could ever love him. He was bequeathed a magic sword which would bring him good fortune as long as it was never unsheathed.

Jirozaemon became a wealthy business man and fell in love with the courtesan Yatsuhashi. She initially returned his favours but later rejected him in favour of her former lover and humiliated Jirozaemon in public.

Overcome with shame, Jirozaemon killed her with his magic sword. Pursued by police, he escaped onto the rooftops. When he killed Yatsuhashi's former lover, Jirozaemon was finally revenged, and allowed himself to be captured.

Based on a true story, this tragic tale was first staged in the kabuki theatre in 1888.

The actor Ichikawa Sadanji I as Sano Jirozaemon Toyohara KUNICHIKA
Japanese 1835-1900
The actor Ichikawa Sadanji I as Sano Jirozaemon
1888 Tokyo, Japan

colour woodblock (triptych)
35.6 x 72.2 cm (image) (overall)
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria, with the
assistance of Coles Myer Ltd, Governor, 1993 (AS28.a-c-1993)

The actor Ichikawa Sadanji I as Sano Jirozaemon

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