The Actor Matsumoto Koshiro IV as Nagoya Sanzaburo

Artist: Katsukawa Shunshō 勝川春章 (1726-1792)
Historical period(s)
Edo period, 1775
Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H x W (overall): 31 x 15 cm (12 3/16 x 5 7/8 in)
Credit Line
The Anne van Biema Collection
Anne van Biema collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Woodblock print

actor, Anne van Biema collection, Edo period (1615 - 1868), hosoban, Japan, kabuki, portrait, ronin, theater, ukiyo-e, WWII-era provenance, yakusha-e
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Anne van Biema American, 1915 - 2004


In this print, the leading actor Matsumoto Koshiro IV (1737-1802) performs the role of Nagoya Sanzaburo, a character based on a masterless samurai (ronin) who lived in the disorder of the late sixteenth century and traveled among the kabuki-mono, a flagrantly uncontrolled group of rebels who defied social convention. In legend, Nagoya became a romantic figure who was sometimes linked to Okuni, the unconventional female performer who first performed kabuki. This print by Shunsho, the artist who produced the first realistic portraits of actors, would have belonged to a set that, when placed side by side, portrayed several actors in the same play. Here the handsome actor, wearing a stylish costume with a coat decorated with triple umbrellas, raises the deep straw hat that was worn as a disguise to conceal his identity.

Published References
  • Ann Yonemura with contributions by et al. Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints from the Anne van Biema Collection. Seattle and Washington. cat. 10, p. 72-73.
Collection Area(s)
Japanese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum