Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Higuchi Jirō Kanemitsu from the series One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō

Japanese Color Woodblock Print

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Higuchi Jirō Kanemitsu

from the series One Hundred Roles

of Ichikawa Danjūrō

by Toyohara Kunichika, 1898

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX as Daikokuya Sōroku from the series One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō

IHL Cat. #683

About This Print

Theactor Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (1838-1903) as Higuchi Jirō Kanemitsu, a personal retainer of General Yoshinaka who disguises himself as the boatman Matsuemon who has mastered the naval art of sakaro (rowing backwards) in the play The Secret Art of Rowing Backwards1 (ひらかな盛衰記). Extensive shomen zuri (front printing) has been used in the black areas of Kanemitsu's clothing.

For a profile of Ichikawa Danjūrō please see the article The Kabuki Actor and for a fascinating interview with the actor see Interview with Ichikawa Danjuro IX.

1 Also known as Hiragana seisuki, Seiuiki, Genta Kandō, Sakaro and Kanzaki Ageya.

The Series One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō

Source: Time Present and Time Past: Images of a Forgotten Master: Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900), Amy Reigle Newland, Hotei Publishing, 1999, p. 127 and 26.

"In 1893 Kunichika undertook a commission for two series of single-sheet portraits that were each dedicated to an individual actor.  The first of these, One hundred roles of Danjūrō, featured the major roles of Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (1838-1903) in a set of half-length portraits.  A square cartouche in the upper register of each print contains a verse or illustration, and the series title cartouche is backed by peonies, a flower associated with Danjūrō IX."

“While his best-known pieces from this period are triptychs, Kunichika produced some outstanding series of single-sheet portraits, such as the One hundred roles of Ichikawa Danjuro IX (Ichikawa Danjuro engei hyakuban) and One hundred roles of Baiko (Baiko hyakushu no uchi).   Like Kunisada’s set of ‘large-head’ portraits, Kunichika’s two series may be regarded as ‘monuments to his [Kunichika’s] career’.  Whilst Kunisada attempted an overview of all the greatest actors of the age, Kunichika’s two series focus on the Kabuki doyens, Ichikawa Danjuro IX and Onoe Kikugoro V.

The publisher Fukuda Kumajirō (together with Gusokuya Kahei) commissioned Kunichika to begin work on the One hundred roles of Ichikawa Danjuro IX in 1893.  The series was completed posthumously in 1903, the year of the actor’s death and under the supervision of Fukuda Shojirō (d. 1925.)  The prints in the series were sumptuously printed using expensive materials and techniques.  Each image documents the actor’s most successful roles; a text or illustration appears in the upper register.”

Print Details

 IHL Catalog #683
 Title (Description) Ichikawa Danjūrō 市川団十郎 as Higuchi Jirō Kanemitsu 樋口治郎兼光 [in the play Hiragana Seisuiki ひらかな盛衰記]
 Series One Hundred Roles of Ichikawa Danjūro
 市川団十郎演芸百番 Ichikawa Danjūrō engei hyakuban
 Artist  Toyohara Kunichika (1835–1900)
国周筆 Kunichika hitsu
 Seal  Toshidama 年玉印 [see above]
 Publication Date March 1898 (as printed in left margin 明治卅一年三月 日印刷仝月 日発行 )
Fukuda Kumajirō [Marks: publisher ref. 071]

福田熊次郎 電話浪花 二九四
Fukuda Kumajirō Phone naniwa 294
Nisei Watanabe Hori Ei
 Impression excellent
 Colors excellent
 Condition good - full size, unbacked, minor soiling
 Genre ukiyo-e; yakusha-e
 Miscellaneous the telephone number 294 "二九四" for the publisher is printed at the bottom of the left margin
 Format vertical oban
 H x W Paper
 14 5/8 x 9 7/8 in. (37.1 x 25.1 cm)
 H x W Image
 13 x 8 1/2 in. (33 x 21.6 cm)
 Collections This Print
 Honolulu Museum of Art 26523;
Waseda University Cultural Resource Database 007-1905; Kyoto University of Art and Design Ukiyo-e Collection 201; Hagi Uragami Museum U01311; British Museum 2018,3021.263