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Kabuki Actor with a Sword from Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu

Kikuchi Keigetsu (1879-1955)

Japanese Color Woodblock Print 

Kabuki Actor with a Sword

from Woodblock Print Supplements to the

Complete Works of Chikamatsu

by Yamaguchi Sōhei, 1922-1923

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IHL Cat. #48

About This Print

Of the eighteen prints in the set Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu this is one of the few that has not been associated with a particular work by Chikamatsu. The print's attribution to Yamaguchi Sohei, as stated below, is now generally accepted as correct.

Source: The New Wave: Twentieth-century Japanese Prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, ed. Amy Reigle Stephens, Bamboo Publishing Ltd. & Hotei-Japanese Prints, p. 168.
This dynamic image was included in a series of twelve prints published around 1923...1 This print has been previously attributed to the writer Morita Sohie (1881-1949).  However, although Morita Sohei was acquainted with a number of shin hanga artists such as Natori Shunsen, it is doubtful that he himself designed prints.  The style of this print and part of the signature is instead similar to a print by the little-known artist, Yamaguchi Sōhei, entitled Memorial portrait of the actor Nakamura Ganjiro, which was published by the Osaka publisher, Yamagiya, in 1935.  

"Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu"

One of 18 prints published from 1922 to 1923 as part of the celebration of the two-hundredth anniversary of the death of Chikamatsu Manzaemon (1623-1724), perhaps the greatest dramatist in the history of the Japanese theater. Each design illustrates a scene or character from one of Chikamatsu’s famous works.  For more details on this series go to Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu.

1 The correct quantity of prints associated with this series is eighteen. 

Print Details

 IHL Catalog  #48
 Title or Description  Kabuki Actor with a Sword
 Series  Woodblock Print Supplements to the Complete Works of Chikamatsu
 Dai Chikamatsu zenshu furoku mokuhan 大近松全集 付録木版
 Artist
 Yamaguchi Sōhei (1882-1961)
 Signature
 not signed
 Seal
草平 Sōhei

 Publication Date  between 1922-1923
 Edition  likely first edition, but the number of editions issued is unknown
 Publisher  Dai Chikamatsu zenshū kankōkai 大近松全集刊行会 (the Complete Work of Chikamatsu Publishing Association)
 Carver  Yamagishi Kazue 1893-1996
 Printer  Nishimura Kumakichi
 Impression  excellent
 Colors  excellent
 Condition  excellent
 Miscellaneous  all prints from this series printed on a light tan-colored paper
 Genre  shin hanga (new prints)
 Format  dai-oban
 H x W Paper  17 3/4 x 11 1/2 in. (45.1 x 29.2 cm)
 H x W Image  15 1/4 x 10 7/8 in. (38.7 x 27.6 cm) measurement includes gray border
 Collections This Print  The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University 201-0386 and 201-0387
 Reference Literature  The New Wave: Twentieth-century Japanese prints from the Robert O. Muller Collection, Amy Reigle Stephens, Bamboo Publishing Ltd, London & Hotei-Japanese Prints, Leiden, 1993, p. 168, image 207.

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