Re:- Shigeharu's Frog Rock Story Identified ?

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Posted by Arnold on June 14, 2003 at 21:02:04:

In Reply to: Re:- What is Shigeharu's Frog Rock Magical Mystery Story ? posted by Andy W. on May 01, 2003 at 04:12:36:

An article by John Fiorillo in Impressions #20, p 69 describes the most famous episode from Shinobi yoru koi wa kusemono which was adapted from Soma Taro mibae bundan ("The Story of Taro, Heir to the Soma Clan) the apparent subject of "Frog Rock".

The same print analyzed by John is also pictured in Schwaab's "Osaka Prints" on p. 158 where it is described as a depicton of Soma Taro Hyobundan. "Frog Rock" on the p. 157 is described as depicting the same play.

Schwaab identifies the three figures in "Frog Rock" with the actor names and roles:

Arashi RIkan II as the Shogun Taro
Nakamura Karoku I as Takiyosa
Ichikawa Sukejuro in an unidentified role.

John describes in Impressions #20, p 69 the most famous episode from the adapted version written some years later as follows:

The play highlights the theme of sorcery. In its most famous episode, Masakado's daughter Takiyashi-hime, who possesses magical powers, lies hiding in the mountains. Oe taro Mitsukini, sent to exterminate the Masakado familiy, takes refuge in the house where Takiyashi-hime is hiding. She transforms herself into Mitsukuni's mistress and attempts to seduce him into changing his loyalties, but he resists her magical powers. When his warriors attack her, she repels them and then recites an incantation that brings on an earthquake and collapses the house with Mitsukiuni inside. With great strength, he digs himself out of the rubble, only to witness Takiyashi-hime seated on her giant toad as she holds the Masakado flag definatly above the ruins."

QUESTION. Is the scene in "Frog Rock" reflecting this episode ? The left panel of the diptych pictures a man (Oe taro Mitsukuni ?) with hat in hand at a gate to a mountain house from which a woman (Takiyashi-hime ?) is emerging. The right panel pictures Soma Taro leaning on a stone shaped like a giant Frog (probably a toad), glaring at the scene in the left panel.

Possibly, the scene can be confirmed from the character identifications which are on the print. Could Takiyosa be Takiyashi-hime ? Could the man with hat in hand be Mitsukuni ? Schwab couldnít identify the third character but possibly knowing that it may be Oe taro Mitsukini could help.

"Frog Rock" is pictured on under Shigeharu the artist. Detailed instructions to the site are given below.

The print pictured on the web site shows Kasuke's seal which also appears on the print discussed by John which was produced at a very similar time. Kasute was the block carver who listed himself as a student of Hokushu on one print (Schwaab, p 24). It is interesting that the face of Shogun Taro is so similar in both prints, one by Shigeharu and one by Hokuei but both carved by Kasute which may be an example of the influence that Kasute had on Hokueiís mature style as hypothesized in Johnís Impressionís article.

All specultation/questions on my part. Any comments most welcome!!


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