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Archive: Shigenao (重直), later called Tessai Nobukatsu (哲齋信勝)

Ichikawa Hakuen II as Dôsetsu in Date kurabe Okuni kabuki, Naka Theater, Osaka
Shigenao ga
No artist seal
Tenki (Tenmaya Kihei: 天満屋喜兵衞)
(H x W)
Ôban nishiki-e
38.5 x 27.1 cm
Very good
Very good color; good condition (full size with margins on all four sides; unbacked; slight creasing; paper flaw to left of umbrella tip; minor soil and marks; slight glue residue on verso)
Price (USD/¥):
Inquiry: SNA01

Hakuen II was the temporary acting name of the Edo superstar Ichikawa Danjûrô VII (1791-1859), who performed briefly in Osaka after fires destroyed all three theaters in Edo in 3/1829. The name Hakuen was first used on the kabuki stage by his grandfather, Danjûrô V, in the premiere of Date kurabe okuni kabuki in 1778. The play was one of the Date sôdô mono ("Date family-troubles plays") featuring various retellings of sagas involving the Date clan of Sendai in Ôshû, beginning in the 1660s when the daimyô Tsunamune was forced to retire. Some of the theatrical dramatizations had fantastical subplots, such as the one central to Date kurabe okuni kabuki, when the usurper Nikki Danjô, endowed with magical powers, plots to overthrow the clan leader Ashikaga Yorikane.


Shigenao's portrait depicts Hakuen in a dramatic mie (climactic pose), with his arms held close against his torso. He wears a bold robe patterned with bats (kômori, the actor's mon or crest) and spider webs, complemented by tattoos of rushing water on his arms and chest. The cartouche of three concentric squares enclosing the role and actor's name is a mimasu (rice-measure box, the mon of the Ichikawa lineage). The poem is signed and sealed by the actor Hakuen.

大判 (38.5 x 27.1 cm)