Kabuki brain puzzles : station-character motif patterns in the actor Tokaido series of Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)

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Kabuki brain puzzles : station-character motif patterns in the actor Tokaido series of Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)

Type: Doctoral Thesis
Title: Kabuki brain puzzles : station-character motif patterns in the actor Tokaido series of Utagawa Kunisada (1786-1865)
Author: Marks, Andreas
Publisher: Department of Japanese Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University
Issue Date: 2010-07-01
Keywords: Tokaido
Ukiyoe
Utagawa Kunisada
Serialization
Kabuki
Japanese Art
Utagawa Hiroshige
Abstract: During the late Edo period, Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1865) was the most popular and sought-after woodblock print designer of his day. Kunisada’s actor portraits document and immortalize all the great performances and actors of the early nineteenth century. Throughout the Edo period (1603–1868), the Tōkaidō was the most vital road of Japan connecting Edo (present-day Tokyo) with Kyoto. Its popularity eventually lead to the publication of Tōkaidō woodblock print series. The many designers concentrated on various aspects linked to the 53 stations along the road. Today, the Tōkaidō is generally associated with landscape prints by Hiroshige and Hokusai. A different treatment of the Tōkaidō theme shows the work of Kunisada who focused especially on portraits of actors, creating a new type of Tōkaidō print by juxtaposing popular kabuki actors in specific roles to Tōkaidō stations. This thesis provides a discussion of the typical phenomenon of serialization in the tradition of Japanese prints, outlining its marketing mechanisms and concepts. Kunisada devised station-character motif patterns and developed over the years kabuki brain puzzles that challenged the viewers. These station-character motif patterns are evaluated and an analytical approach is offered to the methods Kunisada employed when he invented and developed these patterns.
Description: Promotor: M. Forrer
Faculty: Faculteit der Letteren
Citation: Marks, A., 2010, Doctoral Thesis, Leiden University
Handle: http://hdl.handle.net/1887/15755
 

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