Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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The actor Ichimura Kakitsu IV in the female role of Ikazuchi no Otsuru

  • Description

    Women were banned from acting in the kabuki theatre and so female roles were taken by male actors who specialized as female impersonators (onnagata). Ichimura Kakitsu IV was one of the most popular kabuki actors of the late nineteenth century. Here he is depicted as the fashionable heroine Otsuru, shown with a towel draped around her shoulders. It is interesting to note that the actor did not actually play this role in 1861, and that the artist has signed the print ‘Designed by Toyokuni, according to my own taste’ (Konomi ni makasete Toyokuni ga). Perhaps the artist (or his publisher) is fantasizing about a favourite actor in a favourite role here.

  • Details

    Five Fashionable Women
    Associated place
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of creation)
    AsiaJapanHonshūKantōTōkyō prefecture Tōkyō (place of publication)
    designed 1861
    Utagawa Kunisada (1823-1880) (designer)
    Horiyasu Kokutō (active c. 1861) (block cutter)
    Associated people
    Tsujioka Bunsuke (active c. 1814 - 1896) (publisher)
    Ichimura Kakitsu IV (1844 - 1903) (subject)
    Material and technique
    Nishiki-e, woodblock print with ink and colour
    mount 55.5 x 40.2 cm (height x width)
    sheet 36.4 x 25.3 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    Technique index
    Object type index
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Presented by Christ Church College, University of Oxford, 1983.
    Accession no.

Past Exhibition

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    • currently in research collection

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