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Ichikawa Komazo II as Kamaya Chubei and Tomisaburo Nakayama as Ugegawa

Ichikawa Komazo II as Kamaya Chubei and Tomisaburo Nakayama as Ugegawa

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This portrait is completed Sharaku’s second period of his life: only this work is black biotile printing work not in white biotile background among seven two objects standing picture. This work depicts “TsukinoMayu Koino Saichu” of jyorui depicting odume michiyuki jyoruri (finale journey scene) in “Yomono Nishiki Kokyono Tabiji” played by Chubei Umegawa as the second kyogen at Kiri-za Theather in August of 1794 (Kansei 6). This portrait illustrates the taste of kabuki so much: Sharaku conveys the color, style, music, and arts of every beauty of kabuki into this work. “ We had spent fifty-ryo and only two-bu left”: these are their last words on the journey to death. Before ending their life, they only wanted to see the parents. They are going to Ninokuchi-mura village, where Chubei’s native village. Their hearts at this scene is the feeling of the entire stage and also the emotion fully created in this picture. They wear paired kimono under the one umbrella: the background biotile that is a basic color of kabuki appears that makes the scene spread to the entire the stage. The scene leads the audience to the fascination. This portrait could be the highest art work that reproduces the beauty of the stage itself. The dexterity of the lines like music, costume, facial appearance, and structure of the color tone of arms and legs: definitely all of them make this portrait beautiful in proper way. As I explained of Komazo Ichikawa III, at “Komazo Ichikawa III as Shiga Daishiti”, Tomisaburo Nakayama was an excellent female role actor during Kansei-Bunsei period (1788-1829). He went down to Edo and became a student of Koshiro Matsumoto IV. He was acclaimed that nobody performed the female’s depth and bits of mind like him: his nickname was “soft Tomi” (soft or womanish). He died in September of 1823 (Bunsei 6) at the age of 60.

 

 

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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