Artist: Utagawa Toyokuni I (初代歌川豊国)

Print: Nakamura Utaemon III (中村歌右衛門) in the role of an old woman - from a series of 8 prints (Hachimai tsuzuki no uchi - 八枚続之内)

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Dates: 1815,created
Dimensions: 10.25 in,15.125 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese woodblock print
Inscription: Signed: Toyokuni ga (豊国画)
Publisher: Yamamotoya Heikichi
(Marks 595 - seal 04-007)
Censor's seal: kiwame

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Waseda University; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - another print from this series with Utaemon III in a lion dance; Hankyu Culture Foundation;

Physical description:

This print is just one from a series of 8 representations of Nakamura Utaemon in various roles. The range is considerable and forms quite a tribute to the versatility of this performer.


This print represents a dance performance (shosa - 所作) which accompanied the kabuki play Godairikli Iro no Minato at the Nakamura-za.

"When puppet plays were brought into the kabuki repertory, actors mimicked the actions of the puppets; in dance plays actors may move stiffly, like puppets, for comic effect. The overall style of dance in kabuki, called shosa - showing-the-body - fuses rural and urban dances of the common people, characterized originally by lively leaping and dancing."

Quoted from: The Cambridge Paperback Guide to Theatre, p. 188.