Stars of the Tokyo Stage


Kabuki theatre draws on Japan’s rich folklore, literature and history, as well as violent, romantic and scandalous events to present lavish performances. This exhibition reveals this dynamic world through the superb prints of Tokyo artist Natori Shunsen (1886–1960).

The core of the exhibition is a set of 36 striking actor portraits. A selection of kabuki robes and ukiyo-e prints related to the Japanese theatre will supplement the fine prints. Shunsen’s prints have become internationally famous as outstanding examples of the shin-hanga movement, a 20th-century revival of Japanese printmaking that included international influences.

A National Gallery of Australia exhibition.This exhibition is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians; and Visions of Australia, an Australian Government program supporting touring exhibitions by providing funding assistance for the development and touring of cultural material across Australia. The exhibition is also supported by Media partner ABC Capricornia.

[image right, detail] Natori Shunsen Nakamura Shikaku II as Shizuka Gozen in‘Yoshitsune and the thousand cherry trees’ 1926, woodblock print,National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Gift of Jennifer Gordon 1998.

Artwork: woodblock print by Natori 1926