Rare Japanese woodblock print kakemono (vertical diptych) by Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) depicting Onoe Kikugoro V as Nikki Danjo, the archvillain of kabuki roles, transforming himself magically into a rat. The kabuki play “Meibuku Sendai Hagi” (“The Disputed Succession”), deals with an assassination attempt on Tsuruchiyo, a child who had inherited the position as head of a Semdai clan. A stolen scroll containing a list of assassination conspirators is in Nikki Danjo’s mouth. Published by Fukuda Kumajiro in 1887. The assembled size is 28 3/8”V x 9 ¼”H. Fine impression with very good color and embossed and lacquered highlights. The panels are attached. The print is not backed, but traces of an old backing adhere to the back in a few places. There are thinned areas in the paper, particularly in the top of the lower panel. Water damage is evident in the black background at the bottom of the kakemono but it is fairly well disguised by the image. This print is from a New Orleans collection.