Shikan IV (1831-99) was the son of the actor Nakamura Tomishiro, and made his debut in Osaka as Nakamura Tamataro, later changing this to Nakamura Komasaburo. He was adopted by Nakamura Utaemon IV (formerly Shikan II) in 1838, and moved with him to Edo where he remained for most of his career. In 1839 he changed his name to Nakamura Fukusuke I, and finally assumed the name Shikan IV in 1860. In the following decade he established himself as one of the most versatile leading actors in Edo. He was short in stature, but achieved success in a wide range of roles, not only the ‘history’ or ‘period plays’ (jidaimono) at which his adopted father excelled, but also domestic roles (sewamono), in leading male roles (tachiyaku), villains (katakiyaku) and female roles (onnagata). His career and fame continued in the Meiji period right into the 1890s.
Organised for Japan 2001
The Fitzwilliam Museum is especially grateful to John Carpenter, Tim Clark, Paul M. Griffith, Hideyuki Iwata and Ellis Tinios for their generous help during the preparation of this exhibition.
Funded by Japan 2001