The Actor Arashi Kichisaburo II as the Oil Merchant Aburaya Yohei

Artist: Shunkōsai Hokushū 春好斎 北洲 (fl. ca. 1810-1832)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1816
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 39 x 26.8 cm (15 3/8 x 10 9/16 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, commerce, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kabuki, oban, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

In the intimate world of Osaka kabuki, rivalries like the one between the actor Arashi Kichisaburo II (1769-1821), shown in this print, and Nakamura Utaemon III, continued for years, dominating Osaka kabuki from about 1805 to 1821. Fostered by theater owners, print publishers, and artists, such rivalries heightened interest in the actors and their performances. Here Kichisaburo plays Aburaya Yohei, a sexy, roguish character. The actor himself was a handsome, charismatic ladies' man-the perfect choice for this character. In contrast to actor prints produced in Edo, Osaka prints like this one reflect the more realistic style of acting that was characteristic of Osaka kabuki. This print is the left half of a diptych, the right half of which depicts the actor Kanou Minshi in the role of the courtesan Azuma.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 305, p. 344.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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