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Hangoro Sakata III as Fujikawa Mizuemon

Hangoro Sakata III as Fujikawa Mizuemon

Regular price ¥16,000 JPY
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This portrait depicts Fujikawa Mizuemon, an antagonist who appears in “HanaAyama Bunroku Soga” played by Miyako-za Theater in May of 1794 (Kansei 6). Fujikawa Mizuemon is a famous role as the meanest antagonist among kabuki kyogen plays. Sharaku illustrates this character impressively; this is one of the most excellent work depicting upper body actors. Only simple color tone consolidates this portrait: light black kimono, black in collar, and deep green in cuffs. Illustrating portrait with minimum number of color and creates the maximum effect represent Sharaku’s technique. This portrait is a good example of his significant technique. Also, another excellence of this portrait is depicting face. Sticking out Hangoro’s face is strange, dreadful, and impressive: these make us feel the character is coming to us. The light black eye line around the eyelid well-appeals to the antagonist atmosphere. Hangoro Sakata III was recognized as the highest rank of antagonist at that time. His former name was Kumajyuro Bando. He succeeded Hangoro III in May of 1783 (Tenmei 3). The year of 1794 was 13th anniversary of after death of Hangoro II; therefore, they played this kyogen play as Hangoro II’s most famous performance for paying respect to him. Unfortunately, Hangoro III died in June of the next year at the age of 39. His ambitions had never come true.

 

 

Sharaku Toshusai(birth and death dates unknown)

Birth and death dates unknown.

In 1794 (Kansei 6), Sharaku came into sudden prominence, produced more than 140 ukiyo-e paintings during the mere ten months of his activity as an ukiyo-e painter, and then disappeared forever. For his debut work, he used the large, o-ban printing size, and expensive biotitic background printing, which was unusual. Juzaburo Tsutaya, a publisher, enthusiastically promoted Sharaku after Utamaro had left him. Meanwhile, the printing size was getting smaller. One of the major reasons for this was that Sharaku’s way of drawing actors as they were, regardless of their popularity, was not accepted by people of the era. However, each of his portraits is full of energetic impression and gives a positive impact. Because of this, he also received high acclaim from abroad.

 

Selections of Sharaku Toshusai

Sharaku Toshusai(birth and death dates unknown)

One of the reasons why Sharaku’s works are precious is that so few exist. Unfortunately, his art was recognized abroad before it gained popularity in Japan. While the Japanese were blind to his talent, many of the works ended up abroad and were praised. Some of the works were brought back to Japan as part of the Matsukata Collection in 1943 (Showa 18), which increased the number of his popular works in Japan. These forty works were reissued from the collection. Each of them represents one of Sharaku’s great masterpieces.

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