Ichikawa Danjūrō: Depictions of a Kabuki Celebrity in Japanese Woodblock Prints

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    Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900). 'Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as the Hero Soga no Gorō in “Yanone Gorō.”' From the series 'The One Hundred Performances of Ichikawa Danjūrō,' Japan, Meiji period (1868–1912), 1893. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper. Gift of Ja

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    Katsukawa Shunkō (1743–1812). 'Ichikawa Danjūrō V as Ikyū, Nakamura Rikō I as Agemaki and Ichikawa Yaozō III as Sukeroku in the play “Sukeroku”' Japan, Edo period (1615–1868), 1784. Woodblock print; ink and color on paper Gift of James A. Michener, 1991.

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October 31, 2013 - January 05, 2014
Honolulu Museum of Art

Exhibition Overview

The athletic, expressionistic acting style of aragoto (literally, “rough stuff”) invented by the actor Ichikawa Danjūrō I (1660–1704) became so popular that his descendants have dominated the Kabuki stage ever since. In fact, Kabuki’s survival as an art form has depended heavily upon this lineage of actors up through Ichikawa Danjūrō XII (1946–2013), who died earlier this year. This rotation of Japanese woodblock prints discusses the individuals who comprise that lineage and examines how ukiyo-e artists have managed to visually communicate the actors’ hallmark style.