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新宿末広亭 つるし(行燈文字) 文治・圓生・小さん 圓蔵・馬生・正蔵

Hanging Lantern of Shinjuku Suehirotei 新宿末広亭 つるし(行燈文字) 文治・圓生・小さん 圓蔵・馬生・正蔵

Tachibana Ukon 橘右近/筆

The Shinjuku Suehirotei is a yose theater presenting rakugo comedy and other performances and located in Shinjuku san-chome, an area filled with restaurants and bars. Its current home was built in 1946; it is now the only yose theater in Tokyo in a wooden building. The front of the Suehirotei is decorated with signs and lanterns written in yose script, a distinctive type of calligraphy with strikingly broad strokes. The signs give the names of the yose performers, who change every ten days. The artifact shown here, Tsurushi, is a notice in the form of a yose hanging lantern that was used at the theater in the past. It gives the names of the main performers there: From the left, in the first row, (Yanagiya) Kosan, (Sanyutei) Ensho, and (Katsura) Bunji, and, in the second row, (Hayashiya) Shozo, (Kingentei) Basho, and (Tachibanaya) Enzo. In the distinctive brushwork of yose script, the characters are written with almost no space between them and with each rising diagonally to the right. Those features express the hope that the performers will attract large audiences to fill every seat in the theater. Yose script’s origins lie in bira-ji, a handbill script initiated by Eijiro, a dyer, in the Tempo era (1830-44). Both yose theater and its distinctive script flourished from the late Edo period through Meiji. In 1923, however, almost all Tokyo’s yose theaters burned down in the Great Kanto Earthquake, and yose script and bira-ji in general became almost extinct. Tachibana Ukon was a rakugo performer, but in 1949 he left the stage and worked to revive bira-ji, which had almost disappeared. Making some improvements in the traditional bira-ji style, he created what he named yose moji, yose script.
Collection of
Edo-Tokyo Museum
Title
Hanging Lantern of Shinjuku Suehirotei
Collection ID
15000325
Category
Calligraphy
Creator
Tachibana Ukon
Creation Date
1970 20世紀 
Size
90.5cm x 59.5cm
Edo-Tokyo Museum Digital Archives
https://www.edohakuarchives.jp/detail-16054.html

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