Natori Shunsen, Nakamura Ganjiro I as Sakata Tojuro

Natori Shunsen, 1886-1960

Collection of Shunsen Portraits: Nakamura Ganjiro I as Sakata Tojuro
(Shunsen Nigao-e Shu: Nakamura Ganjiro)

a frontal portrait of the actor in teal green outer-robe with a fragment of deep red fabric decorated with a plum blossom motif in the foreground; the orange-brown background is decorated with a pattern of maples on stylized water; signed Shunsen with artist's seal Shunsen, with artist's approval seal Natori at lower left corner, and publisher's seal Watanabe ko (Watanabe Shozaburo) at middle right, 1925

dai oban tate-e 15 5/8 by 10 7/8 in., 39.6 by 27.6 cm

The actor Nakamura Ganjiro is in the role of another actor, Sakata Tojuro I, from a modern play by Kikuchi Kan (1888-1948), Tojuro no koi ('Tojuro's love'), which premiered in Osaka at the Naniwaza in October 1919. The play was based on a real Genroku period (1688-1704) actor, Sakata Tojuro (1646-1709), a beloved performer who is credited with helping to establish kabuki in the Kansai region and developing the wagoto (soft) style associated tragic romances. In this modern play, Tojuro seeks inspiration for a new role in which he portrays a man seducing a married woman. He selects his mark and pursues a restaurant owner, Okaji, without any concern for the consequences of his acting excercise.

Yamaguchi Keizoro, Natori Shunsen (exhibition catalogue), Kushigata, 1991, no. 14

Stage Idols: Japanese Kabuki Theater, The Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts, February 2008 - January 2009



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site last updated
October 21, 2021

Scholten Japanese Art
145 West 58th Street, suite 6D
New York, New York 10019
ph: (212) 585-0474
fx: (212) 585-0475