From SamuraiWiki
Jump to navigationJump to search
  • Japanese: 似顔絵 (nigao-e)

Nigao-e were a sub-genre of Edo period ukiyo-e woodblock printed portraits which showed recognizable facial likenesses of the people depicted. They were in this respect a successor to the nise-e paintings of the Kamakura period, which also aimed to recreate facial likeness.

The first datable nigao-e is said to have been a 1764 double portrait of the kabuki actors Ichikawa Raizô I and Otani Hiroemon, by ukiyo-e artist Katsukawa Shunshô. His Yakusha natsu no fuji, a book of actor portraits published in 1780, is cited as an important example of the continuation of this trend. Torii Kiyoshige (fl. c. 1751-1772) is also credited with painting some of the earliest nigao-e, while Kamigata artist Ryûkôsai Jokei was one of the first to depict onnagata not as women, but as men (with recognizably masculine facial features) dressed as women.[1]


  • Timon Screech, Obtaining Images, University of Hawaii Press (2012), 195.
  1. Joshua Mostow, "Wakashu as a Third Gender and Gender Ambiguity through the Edo Period," in Mostow and Asato Ikeda (eds.), A Third Gender, Royal Ontario Museum (2016), 34.