The Actor Ichikawa Komazō III

Katsukawa Shun'ei 勝川春英 Japanese

Not on view

Ichikawa Komazō III (1764–1838), later known as Matsumoto Kōshirō V, earned esteem as one of the great “1000-gold-piece actors” (senryō yakusha) during the early nineteenth century. While in his twenties he often performed in nimaime (young, dashing male) roles, or, as we may suppose in this case, as a tachiyaku (a serious, upright leading male role). He, however, eventually established a reputation as an outstanding actor in villain roles, and influenced how these characters were performed by other actors. He used the Ichikawa name until 1801, and here his costume bears the family’s mimasu (triple rice-measuring box) crest, though his undergarment is decorated with the yotsuhana-bishi 四花菱 (four flowers arranged in a diamond shape), which only Komazō used. The actor had a large, distinctive nose—a facial feature that Katsukawa artists emphasized in their depictions of him. Here the actor’s eyes are shown gazing to the left, as if in a sad mood.

The Actor Ichikawa Komazō III, Katsukawa Shun'ei 勝川春英 (Japanese, 1762–1819), Woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper, Japan

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