Gratitude to a Father


This two-volume work is a memorial collection of haiku (a short poem) published by the Edo period Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjūrō II (1688−1758) on the 27th anniversary of the death of his father, Ichikawa Danjūrō I (1660−1704). Entitled Chichi no on (Gratitude to a father), the poems are imbued with the determination of the son never to forget his filial piety for his father, who died when the son was still a boy. Of the 70 illustrations, 66 are monochrome prints drawn by Hanabusa Ippō (1691−1760) who was a pupil of Hanabusa Itchō (1652−1724). The other four illustrations were drawn by the lacquer artist and painter Ogawa Haritsu (1663−1747) to accompany four haiku about the four seasons by Danjūrō I. Combining manual coloring and block-print coloring, they are examples of the earliest stage of books with block-print colored illustrations in Japan. Both volumes are also valuable as theatrical documents, as they contain the popular names, posthumous names, dates of death, and names of family temples of 65 dead actors.

Last updated: April 23, 2015