Artist: Gatōken Shunshi (画登軒春芝)

Print: Onoe Tamizō II (尾上多見蔵) as Shirai Saihachirō (白井才八郎)

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Dates: 1823,created
Dimensions: 10.1 in,14.9 in,Overall dimensions

Signed: Gatōken Shunshi ga (画登軒春芝画)
Artist's seal: Shi

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Physical description:

"The talented actor Onoe Tamizō II went for a [sic] training to Edo in 1820 and returned to Ōsaka in 1823, on the occasion of which several prints were published. He mainly acted at the middle theatres down to the early 1830's, but from that time he gradually became on of the leading actors in Ōsaka.

Shirai Saijirō, better known as Shirai Gompachi, is the lover of the courtesan Komurasaki. Several plays are based on the story of the two." This image is said to illustrate Tamizō in a performance of Futatsumon Kuruwa no Nishiki-e.

Source and quote from: Ōsaka Kagami 大阪鏡 by Jan van Doesburg, p. 44.


The artist Shunshi often depicted the kabuki actor Onoe Tamizō II (1799-1886), a long-lived Osaka-based talent who excelled in quick-change roles and ghost plays. In this ōkubi-e [large head, bust-length portrait] close-up of the actor, his acting family crest appears as partial glimpses on the front robe and again on the sleeve at the bottom of the print. Many artists of the period produced prints featuring the actor, from Shunshi’s master Hokushū through Kuniyoshi (both in this exhibition) and other Utagawa school descendants. The actor was extremely versatile and appeared on stages in both Edo and Osaka in an enormous variety of roles. Being short, overweight (later quite fat, as documented in ukiyo-e prints of the latter 19th century) and known as a showman, he never achieved the high-ranking of some of his peers but enjoyed a career success few could equal. Here, Shunshi has evoked the portrait style of a decade earlier, placing the actor Tamizō II on a bold yellow background.