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Koshiro Matsumoto IV as Magoemon of Ninokuchimura and Tomisaburo Nakayama as Umekawa

Koshiro Matsumoto IV as Magoemon of Ninokuchimura and Tomisaburo Nakayama as Umekawa

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This story about Umekawa Chubei of “Meidono Hikyaku” written by Monzaemon Chikamatsu is rewritten to “Yomono Nishiki Kokyono Tabiji”. This scene is in Ninokuchimura. Kameya Chubei, who embezzled money for love. He left for his last journey with his lover prostitute Umekawa. In their final month, he wanted to see his father Magoemon of Ninokuchimura, and they visited there. Umekawa fixes Magoemon’s thong for Japanese sandal and is kind to him. Magoemon realizes that this woman is the person that makes his son committed major crime. He suggests the escape rout to her and tries to help them: this scene depicts full of human kindness. Tomisaburo disguises with Umekawa in the play. Tomisaburo performs Umekawa’s feeling well, who devotes herself to father-in-law: the scene Umekawa twists the thong into a string with her fingertips represents her mind. We can clearly see the beauty of woman in detail, who is a prostitute, but it does not seem to be.

 

 

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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