The actor Onoe Kigkugoro V in the play The Death of Shinohara Kunimoto in Battle

The actor Onoe Kikugoro V, one of the three leading kabuki actors of the Meiji period (1868-1912), is shown performing the role of Shinohara Kunimoto who was killed in the Satsuma rebellion of 1877.

The actors are dressed in 19th-century European-style military uniforms. The incident is portrayed in a stylised theatrical manner, showing the fatal wounding of the main character in the central panel.

Kunimoto, brandishing a sword, is falling from his horse. The drama is heightened by the rearing horse and the dismayed companion in a typical kabuki pose. The close-up view and the horizontal bullet-traces create a dramatic cinema-graphic quality of motion.

The actor Onoe Kigkugoro V in the play The Death of Shinohara Kunimoto in Battle Toyohara KUNICHIKA
Japanese 1835-1900
The actor Onoe Kikugoro V in the play
The Death of Shinohara Kunimoto in Battle

1878 Tokyo, Japan

colour woodblock (triptych)
36.0 x 72.5 cm (image) (overall)
Purchased, 1993 (AS5.a-c-1993)

The actor Onoe Kigkugoro V in the play The Death of Shinohara Kunimoto in Battle

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