The Actor Nakamura Nakazō in the Role of Kan Shōjō
Katsukawa Shunshō (Japanese, 1726–1792)
Edo period (1615–1868)
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper
12 13/16 x 5 3/4 in. (32.5 x 14.6 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1929
Not on view
Based on the legend of Sugawara Michizane, Sugawara's Secrets of Calligraphy (Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami) became one of the most popular Kabuki plays. In it, Kan Shōjō (Sugawara Michizane; 845–903), a distinguished statesman, poet, and scholar, was deified as the god Tenjin to appease his spirit's righteous vengeance after his death in exile. The storm in this print is the dramatic personification of Michizane's wrathful spirit. The actor Nakamura Nakazō is depicted in a vengeful pose, brandishing a plum branch (the plum was closely associated with Michizane).