Okumura Masanobu 奥村政信 (1686-1764)
The Storyteller Shidōken Immersed in his Ribald Tales, vol. 1:
A Female Production of the Nō Drama Kumasaka
(Enshoku Shidōken muchū no kōshaku ue no maki onna kumasaka tora no maki yume-monogatari 艷好志通軒夢中の講釈 上の巻 女能坂虎の巻夢物語)

Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), 1719
Woodblock-printed book; ink on paper
Purchase, Richard Lane Collection, 2003

Similar to his print “Lovers in Kyoto Playing Five-in-a-Row,” displayed nearby, here Masanobu portrays another courtesan and her client, the Osaka-based Kabuki actor Sanogawa Mangiku (1690-1747) back when he was a young wakashū, spending a quiet evening at the Shinmachi with a board game (shōgi, in this case). Another courtesan in the adjoining room peeks through a hole in the shoji screen to determine which of them is winning.

The title of the text refers to the Nō play Kumasaka by Zenchiku Ujinobu (1414-1499), and this image parodies a scene from the second half of Kumasaka, in which the hero Minamoto no Yoshitsune (1159-1189) stands guard throughout the night, peering through a hole in a partition and seeking any indication that his enemy Kumasaka might be approaching.

View this book in its entirety on museum database (enabled through support by the Robert F. Lange Foundation)