Stars of the Tokyo stage: Natori Shunsen’s kabuki actor prints

Natori Shunsen

10 August to 29 September 2013

Visit the dynamic world of Japan’s kabuki theatre through superb actor portraits created by artist Natori Shunsen (1886–1960) in the 1920s and ’30s.

An inspiration to artists for centuries, kabuki draws on Japan’s rich folklore, literature and history, as well as violent, romantic and scandalous events, through to present lavish dramatic performances. Kabuki actors – the movie stars of their day – were wildly popular for their flamboyant portrayals, extraordinary characters and colourful personal lives. Shunsen’s prints provide a fascinating glimpse into this glamorous world, while demonstrating consummate mastery of traditional Japanese printmaking techniques.

Exclusively from the National Gallery of Australia collection, Stars of the Tokyo Stage explores kabuki and modern Japanese printmaking in the context of the astounding changes taking place in Tokyo as the 20th century unfolded.

A National Gallery of Australia exhibition.

Image: Natori Shunsen, Okochi Denjiro as Tange Sazen, Print, ink, colour and mica on paper