The Actors Ichikawa Omezo I as Murakami Saemon Yoshikiyo and Segawa Kikunojo III as Koshimoto Nureginu

Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I 歌川豊国 (1769-1825)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1799:5
Ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 39.5 x 36.2 cm (15 9/16 x 14 1/4 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, ukiyo-e, yakusha-e
Provenance research underway.

The powerful aragoto style of kabuki performance associated with Edo actors is brilliantly expressed in this print by Toyokuni, who was famous for his portraits of actors. Wearing a large, black costume emblazoned with the distinctive square family crest of the Ichikawa lineage of actors and with calligraphic characters for his character's family name, Murakami, the actor Ichikawa Omezo I (1769-1833) strikes a menacing pose. He confronts the lady-in-waiting played by Segawa Kikunojo III (1751-1810), a star actor who played both male and female roles (onnagata). Aragoto is characterized by large, dramatic costumes, stylized stage makeup (kumadori) intended to emphasize the contours of the face, and powerful poses known as mie in which the action pauses at a dramatic climax.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 26, pp. 104-105.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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