Koka (Toyonari)

Yamamura Koka (Toyonari)


Shin Nigao Magazine, no. 2: Sonosuke in the role of Koharu
(Shin Nigao: Sonosuke no Koharu)

woodblock print with artist's seal Ka, carved and printed by Igami Bonkotsu (1875-1933), published by Nigaodo, July 1915

koban 7 1/4 by 4 5/8 in., 18.5 by 11.8 cm

In 1915 a group of ten artists, including future shin-hanga luminaries Natori Shunsen (1886-1960), Ishii Hakutei (1882-1958), Yamamura Toyonari (Koka, 1885-1945) and Torii Kotondo (1900-1976), designed woodblock printed kabuki actor portraits for a magazine promoting the kabuki theater, Shin Nigao (New Portraits). Only five issues of the magazine were published beginning in June, with subsequent issues released in July, August, October and November, the first four included fourteen small format portraits of kabuki actors, and the last, celebrating the coronation of Emperor Taisho with portraits of officials and geisha who participated in the ceremonies, included twenty-one. All together, seventy-seven prints were produced, all carved by the master artisan Igami Bonkotsu (1877-1933) who was also the printer for issues 2 through 5; and Nakamura Sanjiro handled the printing in the first issue. Although the magazine was short-lived, it gave the artist a stimulating opportunity to interpret the classic ukiyo-e subject of actor portraits; some designs would make a later appearance in a larger format as fully realized shin-hanga prints.

The actor Sawamura Sonosuke I (1886-1924) is in the role of Kinokuniya Koharu from the play Shinju Ten no Amijima performed at Teikoku Gekijo in Tokyo on June 3, 1915.

The Lavenberg Collection of Japanese Prints, Shin Nigao Magazine, (www.myjapanesehanga.com)
Darrel C. Karl, Modern Japanese Performing Art Prints: Yamamura Koka (www.mjpap.com)

(inv. no. C-3252)

price: $600


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site last updated
June 4, 2023

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