The Actor Ichikawa Danzo V as Kato Masakiyo

Artist: Utagawa Kuniyoshi 歌川国芳 (1798-1861)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1833
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 36.3 x 24.8 cm (14 5/16 x 9 3/4 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

actor, Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kabuki, oban, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, warrior
Provenance research underway.

The warrior Kato Masakiyo, played by Ichikawa Danzo V (1788-1845), who acted both in Kamigata (Kyoto and Osaka) and Edo, displays his power as he holds a huge sword and an iron-framed battle fan, turning menacingly toward his right in a mie pose. Masakiyo was a character in the period play Hachijin shugo no honjo, which was loosely based on historical events leading to the ascent of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), the first shogun of the Tokugawa line. In the play, in which all the characters have fictional names due to governmental prohibitions against plays based on recent history, Masakiyo is poisoned at a banquet by Hojo Tokimasa, the fictional Tokugawa Ieyasu. But Masakiyo carries on even after the poisoning, traveling by boat to his castle. This print, which is part of a larger multisheet image, embodies the powerful projection of strength and character that made Kuniyoshi's warrior prints a popular sensation.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 35, pp. 122-123.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.