Actors Nakamura Utaemon III (Shikan) as the Ishikawa Goemon of the West and Bandô Mitsugorô III as the Ishikawa Goemon of the East

「西ノ方 石川五右衛門 中村歌右衛門」 「東ノ方 石川五右衛門 坂東三津五郎」

Edo period
1822 (Bunsei 5), 2nd month
Artist Toyokawa Hikokuni (Japanese, active 1821–1824)

Catalogue Raisonné

Kitagawa, "Bosuton bijutsukan shozô Kamigata-e mokuroku" (Kansai daigaku, 2007), p. 91


Horizontal ôban; 26.4 x 38.3 cm (10 3/8 x 15 1/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper

Not On View


Asia, Prints and Drawings



Two superstars from rival cities competed directly with each other in 1822 by playing the same role in the same city at the same time: Shikan of Osaka (in western Japan) at the Naka Theater and Mitsugorô of Edo (in eastern Japan) at the Kado theater, in the play Kinmon Gosan no Kiri. In this humorous print, one Ishikawa Goemon tries to steal from the other a box said to contain the thousand gold pieces that were the annual salary of a top actor. The poem above makes a pun on _hiki_ “pulling” and _hiiki_ “theater fan.”


Hikokuni ga


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850–d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 29, 2004)

[1] Much of Bigelow's collection of Asian art was formed during his residence in Japan between 1882 and 1889, although he also made acquisitions in Europe and the United States. Bigelow deposited many of these objects at the MFA in 1890 before donating them to the Museum's collection at later dates.

Credit Line

William Sturgis Bigelow Collection