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Actor Onoe Shōroku II as Danshichi Kurobei, from the series Gendai butai geika (Flowers of the Modern Stage)

Ōta Masamitsu, Actor Onoe Shōroku II as Danshichi Kurobei, from the series Gendai butai geika (Flowers of the Modern Stage), 1954, color woodblock print on paper, Gift of Mrs. Fay Kramer, © unknown, research required, 91.48.1L

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Actor Onoe Shōroku II as Danshichi Kurobei, from the series Gendai butai geika (Flowers of the Modern Stage)

Related Titles

original language: 團七 二代目尾上松緑

series (original language): 現代舞台芸華

series (translated): Flowers of the Modern Stage

series (transliterated): Gendai butai geika


Ōta Masamitsu (Japanese, 1892-1975)

Related People

printer: Miyake Kōshodō (Japanese, active ca. 1950)




Japan: Modern period (1912-present)


color woodblock print on paper

Dimensions (H x W x D)

image: 16 5/8 in x 9 7/8 in; sheet: 16 5/8 in x 10 13/16 in

Inscriptions & Markings

printer's mark: Miyake Kōshodō shōsatsu 三宅耕書堂摺刷 (printed [by] Miyake Kōshodō), printed in black, within rectangular cartouche, bottom margin, right Language: Japanese

publisher's mark: Banchōrō zōhan 番蝶楼蔵版 (copyright Banchōrō), printed in black, within a rectangular cartouche, bottom margin, right Language: Japanese Description: Tokyo publisher Banchōrō active before World War II and into the 1950s.

title; series title: Gendai butai geika (12) Danshichi / Nidaime Onoe Shōroku-jō 現代舞台芸華 (12) 團七 / 二代目尾上松緑丈 (Flowers of the Modern Stage, no. 12: Onoe Shōroku II [in the role of] Danshichi), printed in black, bottom margin, left Language: Japanese Description: The suffix 丈 (jō) after Onoe Shōroku's name expresses respect for the actor.

artist's seal: , printed in red relief within rectangular cartouche, upper left, below signature Language: Japanese

signature: Masamitsu [also pronounced Gakō] 雅光, printed in black ink, upper left Language: Japanese

Collection Area

Asian Art; Graphic Arts



Japanese Modern Prints

Object Type

relief print



Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Fay Kramer

Accession Number



© unknown, research required




Japanese woodblock prints


relief printing

relief prints



Belluschi Building

Hirsch Wing

1st Floor

Swindells and Crumpacker Family Gallery


The portfolio Flowers of the Modern Stage featured beautifully produced portraits that celebrated Japanese actors of the modern era. The vivid color, naturalism, and painterly quality shown in the prints attest to the highest technical craftsmanship as well as the uncertain status of woodblock printmaking in the twentieth century.

Although some starring roles were new—newly written for film and stage, or adapted from Western drama—others were time-hallowed characters of traditional Japanese theater. Here, Onoe Shōroku II (1913-1989) is depicted as the rough but heroic fishmonger Danshichi Kurobei, a laborer's loin cloth revealing his full-body tattoos. The character was developed for theater based on real events, when a fishmonger slew a man in winter of 1697 and hid the body, which lay undiscovered until the snow melted the following spring.

Onoe Shōroku II (1913-1989) performed under that stage name from March 1935 until his retirement shortly before his death. Endowed with a powerful physique, he specialized in "rough stuff" male roles, such as smugglers and thieves, and is considered one of the finest kabuki actors of the mid-20th century. Here he is depicted in full-body tattoo, wearing nothing more than a loin cloth, for the role of the fishmonger Danshichi Kurobei. Danshichi's character is based on a historical event of 1697, when an Osaka fisherman slew an enemy. The body was buried in snow and not discovered until the following summer. The event was first dramatized for the kabuki stage the following year, and revived in 1745 in the play Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami (Summer Festival, Mirror of Osaka). Featuring the most spectacular murder scene in the kabuki repertoire, the play is still regularly staged today.


2019 Dramatic Impressions: Japanese Actor Prints Portland Art Museum

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