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Natori Shunsen, Actor Ichikawa Ebizo as Yoemon

Natori Shunsen, 1886-1960

New Versions of Figures on the Stage: Actor Ichikawa Ebizo IX as Yoemon
(Shinpan butai no sugata-e: Ichikawa Ebizo IX, Yoemon)

signed Natori Shunsen with artist's seal Shunsen; the actor's name and role on the right-hand margin, Ichikawa Ebizo, Yoemon, Kinegawa no Tzutsumi, dated below, Showa nijuroknen, kyu gatsu saku (Showa 26 [1951], 9th month), published by Watanabe Shozaburo

dai oban tate-e 5 3/4 by 10 5/8 in., 40 by 27.1 cm

The actor Ichikawa Ebizo IX (1909-1965) is in the role of Yoemon from the play Kinegawa Zutsumi. Yoemon is the infamous farmer who kills his disfigured wife Kasane and becomes haunted by her spirit. Different versions of the story paint him in different lights. In some, he is an adulterer who kills her looking for a younger, prettier wife. In others, it is an accident after she goes mad and tries to kill a young princess.

Although born into the Matsumoto line (his father was Matsumoto Koshiro VII) Ichikawa Ebizo IX was adopted by Ichikawa Sansho V (Danjuro X) in 1940. He took the prestigious name of Ichikawa Danjuro XI in 1962, but tragically died only three years later.

References:
Yamaguchi Keizoro, Shunsen Natori Exhibition Catalogue, Kushigata, 1991, no. 65
Kozo Yamada, Natori Shunsen: Collection of Kushigata Shunsen Museum of Art, 2002, p.48, no. 56
Arendie and Henk Herwig, Heroes of the Kabuki Stage, 2004, pp. 250-255 (re: play)

$1,700