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Hikosaburo Bando III as Obiya Choemon and Hanshiro Iwai IV as Ohan of Shinano-ya

Hikosaburo Bando III as Obiya Choemon and Hanshiro Iwai IV as Ohan of Shinano-ya

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This work illustrates one scene of Ohan and Choemon’s journey of the second kyogen etitled “Katsuragawa Tsukino Omoide” played by Kawarasaki-za Theater in July of 1793 (Kansei 6). This is one of the seven large full bodies two object picture during Sharaku’s second period. This play is a kind of furigoto, dance musical style kabuki, depicting the journey of them played with Tokiwadu music. This work is the most moderate and calm among the seven pictures because Sharaku tried to depicted attractive atomospher. In tenjurney type kabuki, woman’s role has more words and movement; man’s role is motare-yaku, a kind of depending role, that does not have many movements. In this opicture, Sharaku captures the moment; Choemon is standing still and Ohan is taking a posture. As an actor, Hanshiro expresses Ohan;s young apperance and posture: Sharaku depicts the expressions well. Hanshiro Iwai IV, he firsr went to Danjyuro Ichikawa IV’s school, became a adopted son of Ichikawa, and named the IV. He had a round face called “Otafuku Hanshiro”; Sharaku illustrates the facila appearance well. His mood of playing is cheerful and interesting and playing realistically. People called him “Tayu at Meguro (where he had his second house)” or “Shirogane no Tayuu”. He was the leading actor who plays female’s role durig 1781-1801(Tenmen and Kansei era). He died in March of 1800 (Kansei 12) at the age of 54. Hikosazuro Bando III was the youngest son of Uzaemon Ichimura VIII; he became anadopted son of Kikugoro Onoue. He was good at playing both wagoto (an honest man confronts the hardship) and jitsugoto (elegant characterized man with somehow funny action) as well as shosagoto (dance and musical type kabuki play). His characteristics were also high. He was said: “He did not like mean and rude; he loved paintings and performing tea.” Sharaku depictes perfectly the Hikosaburo’s characteristics, who received the highest acclaim of the era, both the arts and personality during Bunka-Bunsei era 91804-1830). He died in February of 1829 (Bunsei 11) at the age of 75. He was forty-one when the play was performed.

 

 

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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