An Introduction to the World of Kabuki with Retellings of Famous Plays, illustrated by Woodblock Prints
Heroes of the Kabuki Stage is written for Kabuki lovers and collectors of Kabuki woodblock prints alike, eager to know more about the interesting images on their prints. The book is a concise introduction to the world of Kabuki, placed in the historical and social context of Tokugawa and Meiji Japan between 1603 and 1912. Several aspects of Kabuki tradition, such as the playhouse itself, the interaction between actors and audiences, as well as the development of plays are explained. The elaborate costumes, make-up and different acting styles are discussed and illustrated. A brief historical outline is given of actor prints and their designers in both Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Osaka. A large section of the book is dedicated to retelling the 37 popular Kabuki plays, set against the background of their origins and supplemented by theatrical anecdotes. Main scenes of the plays and leading actor roles are amply illustrated by woodblock prints produced over a period of more than a century. An extensive index on roles, actors, playwrights, subjects and attributes will enable the reader and print collector to find his way in the spectacular world of Kabuki.
A Print Series by Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, and Kunisada
The Hundred Poets Compared is about a 100-print series made by three famous Ukiyo-e artists of the 19th century: Kuniyoshi, Hiroshige, and Kunisada. Each print compares one of the poems from the most-beloved collection of Japanese poetry, The One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each ( Hyakunin Isshu), with a scene from Japanese history or theatre. Begun during the repressive Tenpô Reforms, the series includes many surreptitious portraits of popular actors. Herwig and Mostow explain each episode depicted and its connection to its particular poem, providing a translation of the commentary text on each print and the identification of actors and performances. This work will be welcome to Ukiyo-e collectors and scholars, as well as those interested in Kabuki and Japanese legends.