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

Ichikawa Hakuen II as Dôsetsu (道てつ) in Date kurabe Okuni kabuki (伊達競阿國戯場) 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 26.6 cm
Good color and condition (karazuri [embossing]; unbacked; some fading of red; light horizontal centerfold, minor creases; small part of left and right edge reinforced from behind
Price (USD/¥):

Inquiry: SNA02


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. His appearance in Osaka caused quite a sensation, and fans filled the theaters to watch him perform. The name Hakuen was first used on the kabuki stage by his grandfather, Danjûrô V, in the premiere of Date kurabe okuni kabuki (The Date rivalry as Okuni kabuki: 伊達競阿國劇場) 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 Danjo, 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.

The transliteration of the inscription (signed by 夜雨庵白猿) is: 初秋やいが栗ほうづまだ青し

大判 (38.5 x 26.6 cm)