Ichikawa Ebijuro I as Nuregami Chogoro and Ichikawa Danjuro VII as Hanaregoma Chokichi in Futatsu chocho kuruwa nikki (Two butterflies of the licensed quarter) performed at the Kawarazaki theatre in 05/1820
Given to the Fitzwilliam Museum by E. Evelyn Barron in 1937
Ichikawa Ebijuro I as Nuregami Chogoro and Ichikawa Danjuro VII
In this surimono both actors wear the traditional wrestler’s dress of a folded haori jacket across the shoulders, and a second sash (uwajime) over the first to stop it unravelling. The play derived from the puppet theatre and appears to have been based on a true event in which a quarrelsome Sumo wrestler named Nuregami Chogoro killed a samurai and was captured after hiding out at his father’s house in Yawata village. In the play, Hanaregoma Chokichi is an amateur wrestler whose patron is at odds with Chogoro’s patron Yogoro. In this scene the two wrestlers engage in a test of strength to see who can crush a tea cup with their bare hand. Chogoro succeeds, but the amateur Chokichi has to cheat by hitting the cup against the guard of his sword (katana no scuba). The two later swear allegiance as blood brothers. The words futatsu (two) and chocho (butterflies) in the play’s title pun on the wrestlers’ names, which both include the character cho (long).


© The Fitzwilliam Museum