Sugoroku of Dressing Rooms with a Great Success (Oatari Gakuya Sugoroku)
Painted by Toyohara Kunichika Tokyo Shiryō Collection 577-S1

This is a sugoroku (a Japanese board game similar to western Snakes and Ladders) which places great actors in a dressing room in accordance with their status. In addition to the actors, the names of popular writers also can be found at the bottom in the middle of this Sugoroku, including Sakurada Sakō, a playwright for the troupe of Ichikawa Danjūrō; Kawatake Shinshichi, who are good at writing human-interest stories; and Segawa Jokō, a playwright especially for the Nakamuraza Theater.

What the Kabuki patrons wanted to see in particular was the manners/behavior of actors in their daily lives and in the dressing room, which have long been depicted in nishiki-e (colored woodblock prints) and booklets.
Referring to the structure of "Picture of the Third Floor of the Ichimuraza Theater" painted by Utagawa Kunisada and published in 1823 (Bunsei 6), actors in those days were placed in accordance with their status, and their lines and criticism are written in this sugoroku (a Japanese board game similar to western Snakes and Ladders). Lines hoping for success in life and complaints are also included.

his is a tobi (jumping) sugoroku with starting point at the wallpaper next to the stairs in the center, and the end of the game at dress rehearsal on the third floor. This sugoroku enables the players to enjoy the pictures of actors while casting a dice to play the game. This may help you to understand the behind-the-scenes of the kabuki world by taking a close look at the lines and positional relationship.