Kunichika, Kawarazaki Gonjuro as Ishikawa Goemon

Toyohara Kunichika (1835-1900) Kawarazaki Gonjuro I as Ishikawa Goemon, 1870’s. Oban.

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In this print we see Kawarazaki Gonjuro I  (Ichikawa Danjuro) as Ishikawa Goemon, the famous Robin Hood type character of Japanese kabuki, and like Robin Hood, loosely based on a real historic character. Goemon was a prolific thief who attempted an assassination on Mashiba Hideyoshi. In the numerous kabuki plays about him, Goemon has taken up residence in the vermillion temple of Nanzenji, but in reality Goemon was captured and sentenced to be boiled in oil with his young son, in an iron kettle still called goemonburo (Goemon Bath), the subject also of many grim ukiyo-e.

Kunichika was a great fan of the actor who changed his name no less than five times, this incarnation as Kawarazaki Gonjuro I, lasting from 1852 until 1869. Danjuro IX dominated the kabuki stage during the latter decades of the nineteenth century. He was the last of the great kabuki stars and to some extent, the art of kabuki or at least its hold over the townspeople of Edo died with him in the last years of the nineteenth century.

A great portrait, stunning colours, the condition and impression are all very good.

25cm x 36cm.