The character Kogorō Hyōe at Umezu, between Ōiso and Odawara

‘Large head’ pictures (ōkubi-e), showing just the head and shoulders of the subject rather than the whole body, became popular after the 1780s. Ōkubi-e allowed the designer to emphasize particular facial features, expressions, make-up or poses of favorite actors in popular roles. Here the actor Nakamura Utaemon IV, in the role of Kogoro Hyōe, crosses his eyes in an intense pose known as a mie, struck at a climatic moment in a kabuki play.

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