enpaku 早稲田大学演劇博物館


Yokai Hikimaku by Kawanabe Kyosai (1880)

This painted curtain was a gift from Kanagaki Robun, a popular writer in the Edo and Meiji periods, to the Shintomi-za Theatre in Tokyo, a popular theatre in the early Meiji period. It is said that the artist, Kawanabe Kyosai, a friend of Robun’s, finished the painting in just four hours, and drank the whole time he worked on it. In the painting, popular kabuki actors, such as Ichikawa Danjuro IX and Onoe Kikugoro V, are depicted as Yokai or demons jumping out of a bamboo box and advancing on the audience in the theatre. This is an extremely fascinating piece, not only because it was created by such a unique artist, but also because kabuki theatre curtains are rarely so well-preserved.

Yokai Hikimaku by Kawanabe Kyosai (Replica, 2019)

In this replica, which is one-sixth the size of the original, the Yokai Hikimaku is printed on cloth to reproduce the original texture. The panels under the replica provide the explanatory notes on 15 actors, eight of whom appear on the tablet viewer. In the upper right-hand corner of each panel, the family crest of each actor as it is drawn on the Yokai Hikimaku is provided.