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The actor Ichikawa Danzo IV in a Shibaraku role

Kabuki scholar Laurence Kominz and Melinda Takeuchi, Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Department of Art History at Stanford University, discuss a woodblock print of the Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danzo IV. Created by Asian Art Museum.

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Video transcript

kabuki prints were widely produced during the Edo period in response to a strong public demand for images of their favorite plays and actors cots kawasan show the foremost ukiyo-e artist of Kabuki prints during the Golden Age of Edo kabuki designed this image of an actor kabuki scholar Lawrence Commons this is each cow ah donzo in a shabbat aku roll with a great long sleeve persimmon colored soooo robe and matching persimmon colored pantaloons hakama the red striped commodore d makeup wig with power paper and impossibly long sword are all emblematic of the role the outrageous scale of the outfit and makeup reflect the tone of the performance melinda takeuchi the kabuki actors cut it right to the bone as far as being disrespectful they became extremely adept at adapting rhetoric to pay lip service to governmental ideals and then they'd stick the poison stiletto in and give everything a double entendre keep Lee Shubert aku depicts samurai as buffoons he's a parody he wears a sword that's about 12 feet long and he Swagger's around and stomps around and conquers evil but the whole thing is cast in a comical vein the audience has a lot of laughs you