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The Actors Arashi Rikan II as Tsumahei and Sawamura Kunitaro as Magaki

Hokumyƍ , (Japanese, fl. ca. 1829-1837)
Edo period

Woodblock print; ink and color on paper
H: 17.2 W: 12.2 cm

The Anne van Biema Collection S2004.3.254

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This small print signed Shunko, the early name of the artist Hokumyo, shows the Osaka kabuki star Arashi Rikan II (Kichisaburo II; 1769-1821) in the male role of Tsumahei, and Sawamura Kunitaro II (?-1836) in the female role of Magaki. As shown here, Nakamura Utaemon III (1778-1838) appears in Osaka prints in double half-length portraits composed to focus on the actors'faces. These actors never performed together in the roles specified in the inscriptions. The print depicts a "dream" performance--one that kabuki fans might like to see--through mitate, an unexpected juxtaposition.