Home > Collections > Japanese Art
The Actors Ichikawa Danjuro II as Soga no Goro and Ogawa Zengoro as Kudo Suketsune

Torii Kiyonobu , (Japanese, 1664-1729)
Edo period

Ink, color, and gold on paper
H: 41.0 W: 69.7 cm

Gift of Charles Lang Freer F1898.14

Enlarge this image | Purchase this image

This hanging scroll depicts a scene from the Kabuki play, Bando-ichi Kotobuki Soga. This version of the story of the Soga brothers'vendetta for the murder of their father was first performed in the second month of 1715 at the Nakamura Theatre in Edo (now Tokyo). In this scene, Soga no Goro attacks his uncle, Kudo no Suketsune, as the latter prepares fresh herbs for the New Year.

The painting has a document that identifies the actors as Ichikawa Danjuro II in the role of Soga no Goro and Ogawa Zengoro in the role of Kudo no Suketsune. The third character, Asahina no Saburo, is played by Tomizawa Hanzaburo.

One of the finest surviving works by Torii Kiyonobu, who belonged to a lineage of artists specializing in portrayals of Kabuki actors, this painting captures the vitality and excitement of Kabuki performance in the Edo period.

Please note: The Freer Gallery of Art will be closed to the public from January 2016 until summer 2017. The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Library, and Archives will remain open for the duration of the renovation. Learn more »