The Actor Ichikawa Hakuen as Saeda Masazaemon

Artist: Shunkōsai Hokushū 春好斎 北洲 (fl. ca. 1810-1832)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1830
Ink, color and metallic pigments on paper
H x W (overall): 37.6 x 25.6 cm (14 13/16 x 10 1/16 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), haiku, Japan, oban, portrait, theater, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

Ichikawa Danjuro VII is identified on this print as Ichikawa Hakuen, the name he used while performing in Osaka from 1829 to 1830. This print by the Osaka artist Hokushu represents the Edo actor as the warrior Saeda Masazaemon in the play, Sun, Moon, and Flowers in the Pleasure Quarters (Keisei setsugekka), at the Kado Theater in Osaka. Osaka actor prints often include seventeen-syllable poems known today as haiku (hokku). The actors themselves composed many of these poems. The frequent inclusion of the poems signifies the intimate circles of actors, fans, and poetry clubs that intersected in the Osaka theatrical world. The poem on this print reads:

 A farewell performance-
 so what! This spring, it seems,
 actors, too, get an extra month!

Here the actor suggests that if he leaves in spring, he should get an extra chance to perform, since in the lunar calendar, there was an intercalary third month that periodically adjusted for the shorter lunar year.

Translation of poem by John T. Carpenter

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 56, pp. 164-165.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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