G11 Kisekae-e and Katsuratsuke

"Kabukiyakusha Bintsuke"
Oban, Colour print錦絵を切抜き
Published: ca.1874(Meiji 7), Tokyo
Ebi Collection (Ebi1459)

Costumes were one of the attractions of Kabuki, these are utilized in stage effects, such as "Bukkaeri", "Hikinuki", "Sashikomi", and "Sodeochi." The stage effects which enable an actor to play several roles at the same stage, such as "Hayagawari" and "Henkabuyo", attained extreme popularity in Bunka and Bunsei era (1804-1830). It is said that Kisekae-e was invented to reproduce those techniques on a paper.
Especially, Nakamura Utaemon the third was representative Kabuki actor in Kamigata, he played various kind of characters, not only Tachiyaku (leading actor) but also villains and female roles. This is because he was called "Kaneru yakusha" (lit. actor who can hold carious roles). The tendency that people appreciate "Kaneru yakusha" was certainly one of the reasons why people loved to plat changing different roles' costumes on one actor.
 This picture shows one of Omocha-e (toy pictures) the "Katsuratsuke" (picture to enjoy changing different wigs), people cut out some kinds of wigs and enjoyed matching them on an actor's face. In Edo period, one's hair style were determined depends on his/her age, occupation, and class. Actors wore the wigs on Kabuki stage in accordance with the type of those days. When it comes to this picture, there are 6 different wigs for each two actors.
Omocha-e tended to select a subject from popular stars rather than powerful actor whose name already known. The actor in this picture was Kawarazaki Mimasu, lately succeeded the big name Ichkawa Danjyuro the ninth. And another actor was also a popular named Sawamura Tossho, he was a eldest son of Sawamura family (famous actor family) and enjoyed high popularity with his brother Sawamura Tanosuke.
One of wigs of Kawarazaki Mimasu put a hand towel around his head was the costume for Yosaburo of "Yowanasake Ukina no Yokogushi". Taking a look at the towel, the crest of Ichikawa family Mimasu-mon was printed on, while he was still belonging to Kawarazaki family. It probably tells us that Kawarazaki Mimasu was acknowledged among every Kabuki fans that he will succeed the predecessor's name Ichikawa Danjyuro in near future. (,)

 Yowanasake Ukina no Yokogushi