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Nakamura Kichiemon in the role of Katō Kiyomasa


Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Nakamura Kichiemon

in the role of Katō Kiyomasa

by Matsuda Seifū, 1915

Sawamura Gennosuke (IV) in the role of Otomi

IHL Cat. #278

About This Print

One of fourteen prints by the artist that appeared in the magazine Shin Nigao whose purpose was to advertise the Kabuki theater and renew interest in actor prints. This print which appeared in the first issue of the magazine published in June 1915 depicts the actor Nakamura Kichiemon I playing the warrior Katō Kiyomasa.

For other prints in this collection picturing the actor Nakamura Kichiemon I see Nakamura Kichiemon in the role of Takechi Mitsuhide in the play Toki-ha Ima Kikyô no Hataage and The Actor Nakamura Kichiemon.

Nakamura Kichiemon I was particularly interested in the warrior Katō Kiyomasa and many new dramas were written especially for him in this role. He gathered them and others dramas in a special collection of ten plays called shūzan jisshu, which includes "Nijōjō no Kiyomasa", "Urusanjō no Kiyomasa", "Kumamotojō no Kiyomasa", "Matsuura no Taiko", "Yasaku no Kamabara" and "Kiyomasa Seichūroku".

For more information on this short-lived magazine whose purpose was to advertise the Kabuki theater and renew interest in actor prints, see the article Shin Nigao Magazine.

The Actor in this Print

Source: The Japan Times Online, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2003 “Son pays tribute to a kabuki master” by Rei Sasaguchi http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/ft20030917a1.html and as footnoted.

Kichiemon in undated postcard
Kichiemon I (1886-1954) was a unique figure in 20th-century kabuki theater. The son of a mediocre kabuki actor from Osaka who was married to the daughter of a restaurant owner who catered food to the Ichi-muraza Theater in Tokyo, Kichiemon I's great talent and unstinting efforts made him one of the most influential kabuki actors of the time. An ardent admirer of Ichikawa Danjuro IX, the master of the gallant aragoto style of kabuki acting native to Edo, Kichiemon developed his acting skill in jidaimono (historical plays), competing with Onoe Kikugoro VI, who was unrivaled in sewamono (realistic plays).

For additional information on Nakamura Kichiemon see the article The Kabuki Actor on this site and scroll to the artist's name.

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #278
 Title/Description Nakamura Kichiemon in the role of Katō Kiyomasa
加藤 清正
 (transcribed from the green and yellow cartouches on print)
 Series Magazine: Shin Nigao (New Portraits) volume unknown 新似顔 第一年
 Matsuda Seifū (1880-1978)
 畫 Matsuda Seifū ga printed on bottom of magazine page print was originally tipped to.
 Seal Artist's 青 "Ao" seal (as shown above)
 Date June 1915
 Edition First and only edition printed in magazine Shin Nigao
 Publisher  Nigaodō 似顔洞
 Carver Igami Bonkotsu (1875-1933)
 Printer Nakamura Sanjirō 中村三次郎
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition excellent
 Genre shin hanga (new prints); nigao-e
 Format koban
 H x W Paper 7 1/4 x 4 5/8 in. (18.6 x 11.7 cm)
 Collections This Print Honolulu Museum of Art 31945; The British Museum 1991,1112,0.193.1 (entire magazine, only front cover shown); Art Research Center Ritsumeikan University BM-SJ193-01 (British Museum's copy of entire magazine with all pages shown)
 Reference Literature 
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