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Utamaro print showing


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Hasegawa Munehiro (長谷川宗廣)


Hasegawa Munehiro (長谷川宗廣 act. c. 1848–1863) was a pupil of Hasegawa Sadanobu I (一代 長谷川貞信). His first art name (known as a geimei, 芸名) appears to have been "Munehiro" (宗廣) and his later art name was Kitagawa Toyohide II (二代 北川豊秀), which is documented on a chûban-format tetraptych from 1862 signed Munehiro kaimei Kitagawa Toyohide ("Munehiro changing [his] name to Kitagawa Toyohide [II]": 宗廣改名北川豊秀). The tetraptych was issued for the play Keisei Soga Kamakura daijin (けいせい曽我鎌倉鏶), and while the far right sheet bears the signature cited above, the remaining three sheets were signed with the new name, Toyohide (豊秀).

Munehiro, an actor-print (yakusha-e: 役者絵) portrait artist, worked primarily in two formats: chûban format (中判 approx. 250 x 180 mm) and mameban ("bean prints" 豆判, approx. 130 x 100 mm down to 100 x 65 mm or smaller). At least one ôban print (大判 approx. 370 x 280 mm) is known, so he likely designed a few more of those as well.

Hasegawa Munehiro: Ichikawa Gyokuen (市川玉猿) as Watônai (わ都内)
in Kokusenya kassen (Battles of Kokusenya: 國性爺合戦), Kado Theater, Osaka, 11/1855
Woodblock print, chûban format (236 x 169 mm)

An exceedingly rare example from among Munehiro's chûban designs is shown above, a portrayal of Ichikawa Gyokuen (市川玉猿) as Watônai (わ都内) in Kokusenya kassen (Battles of Kokusenya: 國性爺合戦), staged at the Kado Theater, Osaka in 11/1855. Gyokuen (active c. mid 1850s to late 1850s) was a low-ranking actor associated with kodomo shanai (children's theater: 子供芝居) and shanai shibai (shrine theaters: 社内芝居) — performance venues operating within shrine or temple grounds or precincts. Specifically, he is cited as performing at the Goryô Shrine (御霊神社) under the auspices of the Sangoza (Sango troupe: 讃語座), a group of sermonizers (sekkyô: 説教 or 説経) who presented religious doctrine before audiences at various locales, as well as before private residences or in the streets. The Sangoza was organized under the auspices of the Seki Semimaru Jinja (関蝉丸神社), a shrine controlled by the Kinshôji (金昌寺), a sub-temple of the Buddhist Miidera Temple (三井寺 or 御井寺). As the troupe became more fluid during the 19th century, other types of entertainers including kabuki actors and puppeteers were licensed into the group as performers in shrine theaters.

The publication of a jôzuri-e (deluxe print: 上摺絵) for a little-known actor connected primarily with kabuki at the Goryô Shrine and children's theater, but here portrayed by a well-established artist at a top-ranked theater (the Kado) in Osaka was unusual, with an exception being made here for a role he performed triumphantly in the children's theater, special enough, it would seem, that he was contracted to perform it again at the main Kado theater. These circumstances suggest that Gyokuen had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hit the big time. As there are no known additional performances by him on the big stages in Osaka, it would appear that Gyokuen did not succeed in elevating his status in the kabuki world.

Hasegawa Munehiro: Bandô Hikosaburô V (坂東彦三郎) as Ran no Kata (蘭の方)
in an adaptation of Kanadehon chûshingura (假名手本忠臣蔵), unidentified theater, Osaka, c. 1860s
Woodblock print, deluxe-edition ôban format (368 x 249 mm)

One of Munehiro's extremely scarce ôban-format prints is shown above. It portrays a character from the most famous revenge tale in kabuki and bunraku (puppet theater) — Kanadehon chûshingura (Copybook of the Treasury of Loyal Retainers: 假名手本忠臣蔵), often called simply "The Forty-seven Rônin." In one adaptation, titled Gishinden yomikiri kôshaku, Ran non Kata (蘭の方) was the name taken by Otaka when she became the concubine of the villain Kô no Moronao. Her mission was to infiltrate the palace of the rônin's enemy to aid her lover Yashichi in the vendetta. After much effort she manages to steal a map of the palace grounds, which she presents to Yashichi. Later, however, to end her shame over becoming Moronao's concubine, she takes her life during her return to the palace as she travels in a kago (lit., "vehicle basket," a palanquin: 駕籠 or just 駕). Munehiro's deluxe-edition print appears to have a connection with bunraku (puppet theater: 文楽), as the stylized Japanese ideograms along the top for "Toyo" connote the bunraku Toyotake lineage of chanters, while the crane (tsuru: 鶴) emblems signify the Tsuruzawa lineage of shamisen masters.

Hasegawa Munehiro:
Arashi Rikaku II (二代目 嵐璃珏) as Shirotae, Genzaemon's wife
and Ichikawa Ebijûrô IV (四代目市川鰕十郎) as Sano Genzaemon
in Onna hachinoki (Women's version of the potted trees: 女鉢の木), Chikugo no Shibai, Osaka, 1/1855
Woodblock print, deluxe-edition chûban format (260 x 368 mm)

A typical example of a Munehiro chûban diptych is shown above. Arashi Rikaku II (二代目 嵐璃珏) as Shirotae, Genzaemon's wife; (L) Ichikawa Ebijûrô IV (四代目市川鰕十郎) as Sano Genzaemon in Onna hachinoki (Women's version of the potted trees: 女鉢の木), Chikugo no Shibai, Osaka in 1/1855. The kabuki play Onna hachinoki (Women's version of the potted tress: 女鉢の木) is one of various hachinoki mono (plays about the potted trees: 鉢の物) or adaptations of the  play Hachinoki (The potted trees: 鉢木). Bunraku offered productions as early as 1670, culminating in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's Saimyôji dono hyakunin jôrô of 1703, which introduced the roles of Tokiyori and Genzaemon's wife, a popular role in a big-hit Osaka bunraku production called Hôjô jiraki in 1726. The final act, Onna hachinoki, became a kabuki play at the Naka Theater, Osaka in 1727, with many revivals thereafter. Other kabuki dramatizations include Kaikei natsu no hachinoki (Potted trees and a man in summer: 男夏鉢の木) and Yayoi ni hiraku ando no funahashi (三月開 嬉心船橋). The main theme involves Tsuneyo, the former lord of Sano, who is impoverished following the confiscation of his lands by a wicked uncle. In the kabuki adaptation, the mistreated lord is renamed Sano Genzaemon, and the priest/lord who rewards him for his loyalty and righteousness is called Saimyôji Nyûdô. Other story lines are woven into the plot, but essentially Genzaemon looks to regain possession of his ancestral lands and win a Kamakura guarantee for his legitimate right to ownership.

Hasegawa Munehiro's Names

Hasegawa (長谷川) see signature at top right with yellow background
Kitagawa (北川) used with the geimei Toyohide circa 1862-1863

Art Names (geimei):
Munehiro (宗廣) used circa 1848-1862; see signature above with gray background
Toyohide II (二代 豊秀) used circa 1862-1863

Pupils of Hasegawa Munehiro

There are no documented pupils of Munehiro

. © 2021 by John Fiorillo


  • Fiorillo, John: "The Osaka Actor Ichikawa Gyokuen: A Small-Time Player Has His Moment in the Spotlight," in: Andon, Society for Japanese Arts, 2020, no. 110; 64-70.
  • Groemer Gerald: Street Performers and Society in Urban Japan 1600-1900: The beggar's gift. London: Routledge, 2016, pp. 26, 51-52, 151-152, 235.
  • Ihara, Toshirô (伊原敏郎): Kabuki nenpyô (Chronology of kabuki: 歌舞伎年表). Vol. 7. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten (岩波書店), 1962, p. 27.
  • Kanda, Yutsuki: "The traditional city of Osaka and performers," in: City, Culture and Society (3), 2012, pp. 51-57.
  • Leiter, Samuel: New Kabuki Encyclopedia — A Revised Adaptation of Kabuki jiten. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997, p. 347 (for Kokusenya kassen).
  • Lühl, Hendrick: Schätze der Kamigata: Japanische Farbenholzschnitte aus Osaka, 1780- 1880 (Treasures of Osaka: Japanese Color Prints from Osaka, 1780-1880). Musee National d'Histoire et d'Art Luxembourg, 2013, p. 257, no. 561.
  • Matsudaira, Susumu (松平進): Ikeda bunko shozô — shibai banzuke mokuroku (Ikeda Bunko Library Collection: Catalogue of Theater Programs: 芝居番付目録 • 阪急学園池田文庫所蔵 第一巻), Vol. I. Osaka, 1981., p. 51, no. 1-581.
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