Actor Nakamura Kiyosaburô as Hisamatsu - ROM2015_14593_1


Actor Nakamura Kiyosaburô as Hisamatsu

Medium:Woodblock print on paper
Geography: Japan
Period: Edo period
Hosoe, 37.7 x 17.9 cm
Object number: 926.18.86
Credit Line: Sir Edmund Walker Collection
Not on view
DescriptionThis print is related to a performance of Tokitsu kaze irifune Soga 時津風入船曽我 that took place at the Nakamura-za in the first month of 1758. The actor is holding a shuttlecock from the popular New Year’s entertainment of battledore and shuttlecock (hago-ita). From the 1730s, plays about the revenge of the Soga brothers (Soga-mono) became part of the annual New Year’s program and the plays were divided into two halves, with the first devoted to the story of the Soga revenge, and the second a sewa-mono set in more contemporary times, involving another sekai, or fictional “world.” Here the “world” chosen was that of O-Some and Hisamatsu, lovers in a popular love-suicide romance. Despite the original ban on wakashu and their maegami from the stage in 1652, by the Hōreki era (1751–1763) wigs were being allowed for all roles and had been perfected. In this period, wakashu roles were often played by onnagata like Kiyosaburō, who was somewhere between 26 and 37 at the time he performed this role. The unsigned poem reads: Ah, the laughing dimple of his ageless face, unchanging like the long-lived pines! (Hisamatsu to kawaranu kao no ekubo kana).
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