G03 Actors Critique Which Complimented Actors

"Yakusha Shironezumi"
半紙半裁横本 Three volumes in Three books
Published: January, 1780(Annei 9) in Kyoto
Ritsumeikan Art Research Center(arcBK04-0202)

 Actors critique was publication whose main contents were critiques for the techniques of Kabuki actors and the ranking based on it. It appeared in the middle of 17th century (the first one was titled "Yaromushi"), and in 1700 (Genroku 13), Hachimonji-ya publisher in Kyoto established its style by "Yakusha Kuchizamisen" in a black cover in three volume in three books. Each book was assigned for Kyoto, Edo, and Osaka, and begun with preface in a short story style (it was called "Kaiko"). And the actors of the city were indexed and ranked by roles and actors and ordered based on it. The ranking showed like "Chu no jyo" (above average), "Jyo" (great), "Jyojyokichi" (greatly well), "Gokujyojyokichi" (extremely well), in later, in addition to those ranks, more detailed ranking appeared they represented by strokes in Chinese character such as "Jyo"(great) or "Kichi" (well), or the letter written in black line or outlined. And then, the critique was published in each year, and complimented actors and encouraged them. This style was succeeded until Meiji period.
 The critique contains not only the actor's careers, techniques, popularity, but also the description about their act and stage effects. Therefore it can be informative material to know historical aspects of Kabuki whose the stage scripts hardly survive. (,)