Ryūsai Shigeharu (柳斎重春) (artist 1802 – 1852)

Arashi Rikan II (嵐璃寛) as Kowari Dennai (小割伝内) / Miyamoto Musashi in the play 'Honobonoto Ura no Asagiri' (Daybreak hidden on the bay by morning fog) - [仏暁浦朝霧]


10.25 in x 15.25 in (Overall dimensions) Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Ryūsai Shigeharu
Carver: Kasuke (?)
Hankyu Culture Foundation
The National Museum of Asian Art

The poem is by Rikan and reads:


Mi no iranu
kuri mo okyaku e
aiso kana

A small, undeveloped chestnut
is the only gift I can offer


Arashi Rikan II here plays the role of Kowari Dennai who is standing on a snow-covered boulder as he holds a rifle in one hand. Rikan II succeeded his father, the renowned Osaka star Arashi Kichisaburo II (Rikan I), assuming his father's rivalry with Nakamura Utaemon III. This print, designed by the artist Shigeharu, who was a native of Nagasaki, displays the extraordinarily high artistic quality he achieved in Osaka. From 1826, when he changed his name to Ryusai Shigeharu, he produced high-quality prints that rivaled those of Hokushu. The subtly graded color and exquisite printing in this image reveal the artistry of Shigeharu's prints.

A special edition print in surimono format with a poem by the actor printed in gold above, probably produced for the actor's family and friends. (Rare)


Illustrated in:

1) Ikeda Bunko, Kamigata yakusha-e shūsei (Collected Kamigata Actor Prints), vol. 2, Osaka, 1998, No 164.

2) A small black and white image in Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints in the Anne van Biema Collection, p. 346, #318.
Arashi Rikan II (二代目嵐璃寛: 9/1828 - 6/1837) (actor)
actor prints (yakusha-e - 役者絵) (genre)
Kyōto-Osaka prints (kamigata-e - 上方絵) (genre)
Miyamoto Musashi (宮本無三四) (role)