Ya Brigade, Fifth Group, Kôjimachi: Actor Seki Sanjûrô III as Naosuke Gonbei, from the series Flowers of Edo and Views of Famous Places (Edo no hana meishô-e)

「江戸の華名勝会 や 語番組」 「麹町」 「直助権兵衛 関三十郎」(三代目)

Edo period
1863 (Bunkyû 3), 11th month
Artist Utagawa Kunisada I (Toyokuni III) (Japanese, 1786–1864), Other artist Kawanabe Kyôsai (Japanese, 1831–1889), Publisher Katôya Iwazô (Seibei) (Japanese)

Catalogue Raisonné

Edo-Tokyo Museum, Edo kabuki (1995), #4-16


Vertical ôban; 36.4 x 24.9 cm (14 5/16 x 9 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

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

Not On View


Asia, Prints and Drawings



Forms the third sheet (from right to left) of a tetraptych showing actors in the play Yotsuya Kaidan, with images from utsushi-e (magic lantern slides) above.
MFA impressions:
Sheet 1 (R): 11.45396.9 (creped, in album)
Sheet 2 (CR): 11.42509, 11.45396.10 (creped, in album)
Sheet 3 (CL): 11.42510, 11.45396.11 (creped, in album)
Sheet 4 (L): 11.45396.12 (creped, in album)

The term “flowers of Edo” (Edo no hana) can refer, among other things, to fires. The title panel for each print in this series shows the lanterns and identifying standard (matoi) for one of the brigades of firefighters (hikeshi) assigned to various districts. On the west side of the Sumida River were 48 brigades named for the symbols of the kana syllabary and grouped into 8 numbered groups (1 to 10, minus the bad-luck numbers 4 and 7). On the east side of the river, brigades were numbered and assigned to directional groups. Outlying districts were covered by special brigades, here designated “extra” (bangai). Each title gives the name or number of a brigade, its group, and its district, followed by the kabuki scene chosen to match it.



Toyokuni ga, in toshidama cartouche (bottom right); Tozan ga (above); Seisei Kyôsai (bottom left)


Censor's seal: Boar 11 aratame
No blockcutter's mark


By 1911, purchased by William Sturgis Bigelow (b. 1850–d. 1926), Boston [see note 1]; 1911, gift of Bigelow to the MFA. (Accession Date: January 19, 2005)

[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