The actors Ichikawa Danjuro V as Watanabe Kiou Takiguchi (bottom), and Nakamura Nakazo I as Taira no Kiyomori (top), in the 'Shibaraku' scene from the play Nue no Mori Ichiyo no Mato (Forest of the Nue Monster: Target of the Eleventh Month)
Performed at the Nakamura Theater from the first day of the eleventh month, 1770
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Creator Name: Katsukawa, Shunsho
Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: Japanese; 1726-1792 Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Active Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Creator Name-CRT: Katsukawa Shunsho
Title: The actors Ichikawa Danjuro V as Watanabe Kiou Takiguchi (bottom), and Nakamura Nakazo I as Taira no Kiyomori (top), in the 'Shibaraku' scene from the play Nue no Mori Ichiyo no Mato (Forest of the Nue Monster: Target of the Eleventh Month)
Title Type: preferred
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1770
Creation End Date: 1770
Creation Date: Performed at the Nakamura Theater from the first day of the eleventh month, 1770
Creation Place: Asia,East Asia,Japan
Object Type: Prints
Classification Term: Woodblock
Materials and Techniques: Woodblock print.
Dimensions: Hosoban; 32.2 x 14.3 cm
Inscriptions: SIGNATURE: Shunsho gaARTIST'S SEAL: Hayashi in jar-shaped outline
AMICA Contributor: The Art Institute of Chicago
Owner Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
ID Number: 1939.596
Credit Line: Frederick W. Gookin Collection
Context: An evil courtier is about to order the execution of some hapless victim onstage when cries of 'Shibaraku!'(Stop right there!) are heard from the back of the theater, and a hero dressed in a distinctive persimmon-colored costume with fantastically large square sleeves enters down the hanamichi walkway to save the day. The 'Shibaraku' scene is the ultimate confrontation between good and evil in Kabuki, and the most perfect display of the bombastic, stylized aragoto (rough stuff) acting style associated with the Ichikawa Danjuro line of actors. First performed by Danjuro I in 1697, it became obligatory from the early eighteenth century to include the scene in the opening-of-the-season (kaomise) productions held at every theater in the eleventh month of each year. The excitement attending the performance at the Nakamura Theater in the eleventh month of 1770 must have been particularly intense, for it was on this occasion that twenty-nine-year-old Matsumoto Koshiro III, acting the 'Shibaraku' role for the first time, had to prove himself a worthy successor to his father as the new Danjuro V.In Shunsho's print we see Danjuro V half-kneeling in his voluminous 'Shibaraku' costume decorated with the large white 'triple square' (mimasu) crest of the Ichikawa family, towered over by Nakamura Nakazo I in the 'receiving' (uke) role of the evil courtier Taira no Kiyomori. For more complete depictions of the scene we can turn to a page in the illustrated play program (ehon banzuke; see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, fig. 44.1, p.138) as well as to an illustration from the book Yakusha Kuni no Hana (Prominent Actors of Japan; see 'The Actor's Image' catalogue, fig. 44.2, p.138). Yorimasa, played by Ichikawa Komazo II, has been commanded by Kiyomori to commit suicide for losing the sword of the Lion King (Shishi O); Nakamura Denkuro II as Seno'o Taro stands behind Yorimasa, sword at the ready, to ensure compliance. Standing on the steps leading up to the palace, dressed in white court robes and kammuri headdress, NakazoI as Kiyomori dominates the scene, but Danjuro V as the hero Kiou Takiguchi has just entered to the left. Kabuki Nempyo describes Danjuro V pulling out a brocade banner from a protective tube, the moment shown in the illustration from Yakusha Kuni no Hana .Though the more detailed book illustrations give us a much better idea of the complete stage tableau, they also demonstrate (by comparison) the purer compositional power of the hosoban print, from which all extraneous elements have been eliminated to present the two protagonists in a confrontation fraught with physical and psychological tension.
AMICA ID: AIC_.1939.596
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
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