Letter with a mounting by the actor Ichikawa Danjuro IX, who was a star in the Meiji period's golden age of Kabuki. - The mounting is signed Kyusei Mimasu (Ninth generation Mimasu), i.e. Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903).
The letter is definitely older. It was written by one of Danjuro's famous ancestors who where all known by the name Ichikawa Hakunen, a name that was handed down from one generation to the next.
"Lines of Nichiren-sama in Shibaraku [one of the Eighteen Great Plays of Kabuki] as pronounced by Ichikawa Hakuen.
Prayer to Amitabha brings you to the deepest hell.
Zen Buddhism is demon.
Shingon sect destroys the country.
Ritsu sect is a traitor.
Those four maxims (shika kakugen) the followers among the world should know.
Yakuomaru (i.e. Nichiren), who was a descendant of the ninth emperor, practiced early morning training every day. The years accumulated and reached five hundreds years since Nichiren passed away. It is such a fortunate thing. It has been long, thus please make a donation. Shingon’s outrageousness and women’s Nirvana stand alone and unique. If you recommend, you should take the Lotus Sutra. The infidel people criticize the preaches of Nichiren should be thrown under the floor of Ikegami temple. With all respects, Namu Myoho Renge Kyo."
Ichikawa Danjuro IX (1838-1903)
In on paper
28.5 x 35.5 cm (11 1/4 x 14 in.)
Painted mounting (kaki-byoso)
130.5 x 46.5 cm (51 1/4 x 15 1/4 in.)