Actors Onoe Matsusuke I as the Ghost of Iohata and Matsumoto Kojiro as Mokuemon

Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I 歌川豊国 (1769-1825)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1804, 7th month
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 38.5 x 26 cm (15 3/16 x 10 1/4 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

actor, Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), ghost, Japan, kabuki, ukiyo-e
Provenance research underway.

In this print, a sheet from a larger composition, the actor Matsumoto Kojiro recoils in terror while Iohata, a female ghost played by Onoe Matsusuke I (1744-1815), stands behind him. The scene is an episode from the play, Tenjiku Tokubei ikoku no hanashi, in its premier performance in 1804 at the Kawarazaki Theater in Edo. In this performance, Matsusuke, who was born in Osaka, also played the lead role of Tokubei, a character who became a specialty of the Onoe family just as Sukeroku was for the Ichikawa Danjuro family. Matsusuke was especially known for his portrayals of vengeful ghosts and for hayagawari transformations that enabled him to play as many as seven roles in a play. The Onoe family was one of the most important in the Edo kabuki world, second only to the Ichikawa Danjuro family.

Published References
  • Mrs. Elizabeth ten Grotenhuis. Bodily Gift and Spiritual Pledge: Human Hair in Japanese Buddhist Embroideries. Hong Kong, January-February 2004. p. 33.
  • Ann Yonemura, et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 28, pp. 108-109.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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