H12 Hayagawari: Osome Hisamatsu

"Hime Osome" "Decchi Hisamatsu"
Artist: Kuniyoshi Oban, Colour print
Performance: 25 January, 1850(Kaei 3) at Kawarazaki-za theatre in Edo
外題:Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri
Ritsumeikan Art Research Center (arcUP2929)

"Hayagawari" (lit. quick change) is a performance which shows an actor plays several different characters on the same stage with astonishing quick switching. To show it effectively, there are some devices, such as introducing Obi sewn to Kimono, using stand-in. It is also used in "Osome Hisamatsu" which is depicted on this picture. In Bunka and Bunsei era (1804-1830) when "Osome no Shichiyaku" (lit. seven roles of Osome) and "Yotsuya Kaiden" was produced, this technique attracted the audiences and transformation dance programs were promoted in many times. After the Meiji restoration, Kabuki in Kamigata area (Kyoto and Osaka) introduced this technique. On the other hand, audiences in Tokyo (the modern name of Edo after 1868) disliked such showy performances. But from the 1970s, the entertainment properties have been counted as one of the attractions of Kabuki, thanks to Ichikawa Ennosuke the third's school.
This Yakusha-e (actors print) describes a scene in which Iwai Kumesaburo the third (later became Iwai Hanshiro the eighth) played double roles which is a daughter of oil merchant Osome and a young apprentice of the dealer Hisamatsu. This program is commonly called "Seven roles of Osome" which means a female roles expert who plays the heroine Osome (town girl) also acts as Hisamatsu (young man), his sister Takekawa (a lady-in-waiting), Osome's step mother Teisho-ni (widow nun), Oroku of bank (evil lady), Omitsu (country girl), and Osaku (wife of a farmer). The special techniques for quick costume changes enable an actor to play seven roles at the same stage. The two main characters of this story, Osome (female role) and Hisamatsu (leading male role). On an actual stage, the actor transforms from a female role Osome into a leading part Hisamatsu in a moment when passing each other on Hanamichi (actors' pathway). (,)

Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri, Keren