the actor uses a cloth to hold what I originally thought was a lantern. But
thanks to an e-mail from a visitor to this site I now know that this is
actually a small Buddhist altar.
On July 27, 2007 Lee from New York wrote: "Regarding the Kuniyoshi
"Kabuki Ghost" print, you may or may not be aware that this play was being
performed here in New York this week.... In the performance, what you
referred to as a lantern was a small portable Buddha shrine. The character
was fending of the ghost with this holy object, as one might do with a cross
and vampire in Western fiction."
Thank you so much Lee! Without your help I may never have known this
information and my mistake would never have been corrected. Thanks!
[By the way, what makes Lee think the cross and vampire thing is fiction?
This question is rhetorical, of course - and very tongue-in-cheek.]