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Utagawa Kunisada

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Minakuchi: The actor Sawamura Chojuro V as Choemon

Kunisada Tsunoda, Japanese, (1786–1865)
Utagawa Kunisada, Japanese, (1786–1865)

Creation date: 1852
Creation place: Japan

Other Information

Type: Woodblock
Medium and Support: Woodblock
Credit Line: Gift of Sheila Potiker in memory of Hughes L. Potiker
Accession Number: 2009.11
Dimensions: 14 5/16 in. x 9 11/16 in. (36.35 cm x 24.61 cm)


Sheila Potiker, ( - 2/19/09)

San Diego Museum of Art, (2/19/09 - )

Label Copy

Working at the same time as the artist Hiroshige, who popularized landscape scenes of the Tokaido stations, the artist Kunisada created a different kind of series of the fifty-three stations of the Tokaido. Each print in Kunisada’s series features a half-length portrait of a prominent actor in the role of a character from a Kabuki play. The character is related to the station in a clever way, which the viewer must puzzle out by drawing from one’s knowledge of the theater. In the case of this print, Choemon, protagonist of the play Plum and Willow in the Ripples of the Katsura River, met the fourteen-year-old merchant girl Ohan while traveling on the Tokaido from the station at Minakuchi towards Kyoto. When they spent the night together at an inn at the next station, they fell in love. Their love was forbidden, however, since Choemon was married and Ohan engaged. When Ohan became pregnant, they decided to commit suicide by drowning themselves in the Katsura River.
Last Updated: 2/17/2011


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Dreams and Diversions: 250 Years of Japanese Prints from the San Diego Museum of San Diego Museum of Art , 11/6/2010 - 6/5/2011

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