Artist: Saikōtei Shibakuni (西光亭芝国)

Print: Just arrived from Edo (江戸登り), Arashi Kitsusaburō II (嵐橘三郎), formerly named Arashi Tokusaburō (嵐徳三郎) - Edo nobori Arashi Tokusaburō gaimei Arashi Kitsusaburō

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Dates: 1822,created
Dimensions: 10.5 in,14.75 in,Overall dimensions
Medium: Japanese color woodblock print

Signed: Saikōtei Shibakuni ga
(西光亭芝國 画)
Publisher: Ariwaradō Chūbei (Mark 015 - seal 04-019)

Related links: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Waseda University;

Physical description:

The text in the upper right clearly states that Arashi Tokusaburō (嵐徳三郎) has changed his name to Arashi Kitsusaburō (嵐橘三郎). The term 'kaimei' (改名) indicates the name change. These names also appear along with the name of the publisher of this print on the boxes in the lower right.

The poem on the left is by the actor himself sign with his haimyō or poetry name. As best we can tell it is a humble poem that plays off the of word play of the word 'murasaki' which generally means 'purple', but here might even refer to a sardine, a small fish, a small fry. And yet, the actor's robe is purple decorated with an orange blossom family crest. Even the black lacquer stand with the mirror showing the reflection of the actor has legs decorated with large orange blossom carvings.

There are three make-up brushes hanging on the left are worth looking at because the center brush, the one with the black lacquer handle, has the crest of Arashi Kitsusaburō I, Arashi Kitsusaburō II's predecessor. Therefore it was probably Kitsusaburō I's personal tool and forms a great link to his successor. Another interesting touch is the tobacco pouch near the left leg of the mirror. It is decorated with the tsurubishi (鶴菱) or flying cranes in a lozenge motif, the personal emblem of Nakamura Utaemon III, a rival of Kitsusaburō. Was it a gift to that actor on the event being recorded here? Or, was it left in the dressing room as a reminder of their rivalry? We will never know, but would hope it was a gift to honor his rival.


"The legend at the top states that the portrait is of the Edo actor Arashi Tokusaburō, now Arashi Kitsusaburō. The verses that follow are signed 'Rikan,' the literary name his predecessor had used. The name change and the name of the publisher with red seal appear on the script-scroll boxes at right. The orange-blossom motif, symbol of the actor, is worked into the lacquered gallery beneath the hanging make-up brushes and his pipe. Shibakuni designed a similar portrait of Kitsusaburō."

The example shown by Dean Schwaab in his Osaka Prints on page 95 has a blue ground and no publisher's seal.


We are viewing the actor's image in his dressing room mirror.


Listed in 1) in Bosuton bijutsukan shozō Kamigata-e mokuroku, Kitagawa, Kansai daigaku, 2007, p. 92.

And in 2) in Schätze der Kamigata: Japanische Farbholzschnitte aus Osaka 1780-1880, MNHA (Musée national d'histoire et d'art Luxembourg), p. 139, #287.