The Actor Arashi Rikan II as Ogata Rikimaru

Artist: Shunkōsai Hokushū 春好斎 北洲 (fl. ca. 1810-1832)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1831
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 37.6 x 25.4 cm (14 13/16 x 10 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, samurai, theater, toad, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

Wearing full armor, the actor Arashi Rikan II (1788-1837) plays the role of a warrior who has acquired magical powers that allow him to control frogs. He wears a wig that suggests the character has not shaven his pate for one hundred days, thus producing a disheveled appearance. This type of wig is commonly used in period plays to express a combination of physical strength and evil intentions. The actor himself composed the haiku (hokku) inscribed on this print. It refers to the honor of performing in a New Year production and self-deprecatingly suggests that he is not a famous actor:

 How comforting!
 Even grasses with no name
 enjoy the blessings of the sun.

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. 58, pp. 168-169.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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