The Actor Nakamura Utaemon III as Kanda Yogoro

Artist: Shunkōsai Hokushū 春好斎 北洲 (fl. ca. 1810-1832)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1822
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 39 x 27.4 cm (15 3/8 x 10 13/16 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, Edo period (1615 - 1868), Japan, kabuki, oban, poems, portrait, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

In this print, which is the right print of a triptych, Nakamura Utaemon III appears, raising his truncheon against the character played by Ichikawa Ebijuro I in the left print (see S2004.3.261). He plays a kabuki policemen known as torite. The center print, which represents the actor Nakamura Tomijuro II (Matsue III) in the role of a courtesan, is not in this collection. The bold, patterned background, a common feature in Osaka actor prints, is rendered in reserve, and is based on the actor's family crest.  A poem inscribed on the print, for Utaemon, praises Shikan, the actor's poetry name:

 Playing to packed houses,
 Shikan's dramatic stances
 are just so "arresting"
 that fans really feel
 "there's nowhere to escape!"

Translation of poems by John T. Carpenter

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 48, pp. 148-149.
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.