Actors in Jitsukawa clan
December 4 (Tue), 2018 – March 3 (Sun), 2019
This museum exhibits ukiyo-e woodblock prints produced in Osaka in the Edo period. Most of the ukiyo-e prints made in Osaka were portraits of kabuki actors in which you can see how the stage and the actors were like at the time.
Ukiyo-e prints drawn in Osaka were of kabuki plays that were performed in theatres in Dotombori such as Naka-za and Kado-za located in Osaka. Some popular actors went Edo city to perform kabuki, but there were many who chose to act around Kamigata (Kansai area). There were many clans that were from Kamigata.
In this feature exhibition, we focus on the kabuki actors from Jitsukawa clan, mainly Jitsukawa Gakujuro II. He is one of the Kamigata (Kansai area) actors. The Jitsukawa clan began in 1833 (Tempo 4) when Asao Gakujuro changed his name to Jitsukawa Gakujuro. The names Jitsukawa Enzaburo and Jitsukawa Enjaku continued to be succeeded until the Showa period. Enjoy the Jitsukawa actors in ukiyo-e.
Jitsukawa Gakujuro I (1782 – 1835, Temmei 2 – Tempo 6)
Started his career as a disciple of Asao Kuzaemon I, and was given the name of Asao Yaozo. Later he became a disciple of Nakamura Nakazo II and changed his name to Nakamura Yaozo. In 1809 (Bunka 6), he reintegrated into Asao Kuzaemon and changed the name to Asao Yujiro. He played in the theatres in Edo from 1810 (Bunka 7) but went back to Kamigata (Kansai area) around 1819 (Bunsei 1).
In 1822 (Bunsei 5), he changed his name to Asao Gakujuro and performed together with Nakamura Utaemon III in a young male role. He gradually took the higher position and in 1833 (Tempo 4) he changed his name from Asao Gakujuro to Jitsukawa Gakujuro, becoming the head of the kabuki troupe. But then he became ill and died on the 4th of November in 1835 (Tempo 6) after he played in Kado-za theatre in September that year.
He looked good on stage and played a variety of roles, not only as a role of young male but also a female role. He was drawn in ukiyo-e as a good-looking man. There is also ukiyo-e in which he plays female role.
Jitsukawa Gakujuro II (1813 – 1867, Bunka 10 – Keio 3)
Started his career as a disciple of Jitsukawa Gakujuro I (the then Asao Gakujuro) and was given the name of Asao Mankichi. After he changed his name to Asao Enzaburo, he was adopted by his master. When Asao Gakujuro I changed his name to Jitsukawa Gakujuro in 1831(Tempo 4), Asao Enzaburo also changed his name to Jitsukawa Enzaburo.
In 1865 (Keio 1), Jitsukawa Enzaburo changed his name to Jitsukawa Gakujuro II and his son, Entaro, took the name of Jitsukawa Enzaburo II. Jitsukawa Gakujuro got the eye disease and later lost eyesight. Died on 22nd of February 1867 (Keio 3) at the age of 55. His posthumous Buddhist name is Gakumyo-in ensho-nichiju-shinji.
He looked good on stage just like Jitsukawa Gakujuro I and people said that he was blessed with his appearance. While he took over his master’s style of acting, he was also good at gentle style acting in love stories and got the reputation for being an expert for that style. Many of his ukiyo-e portraits are middle-sized (25cm ×18cm) with his name Enzaburo on it. He is characterized by the vertical lines on his cheeks.
Jitsukawa Enjaku I (1831 – 1885, Tempo 2 – Meiji 18)
Started his career as a disciple of Jitsukawa Gakujuro II (the then Jitsukawa Enzaburo) and was given the name of Jitsukawa Enji. In 1856 (Ansei 3), he went to Edo with Ichikawa Danzo VI and there he became a disciple of Nakamura Shikan IV and changed his name to Nakamura Enjaku. In 1859 (Ansei 6) he was adopted by Onoe Kikugoro IV and was given the name of Onoe Baiko, but in 1861 (Bunkyu 1) he went back to Osaka to become a disciple of Jitsukawa Gakujuro II again. He took over his master’s pseudonym, Jitsukawa Enjaku in 1863 (Bunkyu 3).
Jitsukawa Enjaku I was very popular during the time from the end of the Edo period to the beginning of the Meiji period as a great Kamigata (Kansai area) wagoto (gentle style acting) actor. He was called “the three crows” along with Arashi Rikan IV and Nakamura Sojuro. He was also called “EnSoSuke” (three actors’ names put together) along with Nakamura Sojuro and Ichikawa Udanji I. Died from a disease on 18th September 1885 at the age of 54. His posthumous Buddhist name is Tenyu-in enjaku-nichiki-shinji. His little-bit-turned-up chin is charming and that charm is well drawn in ukiyo-e.
Actors from Asao clan
Asao clan is originated from Asao Jujiro who was a female-role kabuki actor in the Genroku period. Thanks to Asao Tamejuro I, the clan consolidated its position. Asao Tamejuro was a disciple of Asao Jujiro and very famous villain-role actor. Asao Kuzaemon I, whose disciple was Jitsukawa Gakujuro I, was a disciple of Asao Tamejuro I and was given the name of Kuzaemon.
Asao Okuyama II was a disciple of Asao Tamejuro I and later took over the name of Asao Tamejuro III. Asao Asajiro, son of Asao Tamejuro III, later became Asao Okuyama III. Asao Tamejuro III had another son, Asao Tamejuro IV. Asao Yoroku I was a disciple of Asao Tamejuro III.
Clan name ‘Asao’ existed until the Showa period, last person being Asao Okuyama VIII. It was a distinguished clan, continued for a long time from the Genroku period.
Shini-e (death picture)
Even now, when a popular actor or a singer dies there are wide range of media coverage. In the Edo period, ukiyo-e called shini-e was published to announce the death of a kabuki actor. It contained portraits of the actor in death clothes, the date and time of death, his posthumous Buddhist name, farewell poem and words of mourning. More popular the actor was, the more shini-e were produced to regret his death.