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Mitsugoro Bando II as Ishii Genzo

Mitsugoro Bando II as Ishii Genzo

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This portrait illustrates The eldest son of Ishii Brothers Ishii Genzo, who seek revenge of their parents appeared in “HanaAyame Bunroku Soga” played by Miyako-za Theater in May of 1794 (Kansei 6). The enemy Fujikawa Mizuemon killed Genzo. This work is uncommon among Syaraku’s half body portrait that hair at the temple has movement like swinging in the wind effectively. Also, curving hair technique is excellent: the figure of the hair around his face helps his movement that almost fights against the enemy. He tightens up his lips, glazes at forward, and shows his serious eye expression strongly: these express his deep crystallized vindictiveness to the enemy. The diagonally held sword through the screen is also awesome. This structure unifies the entire screen and makes feel us somehow rhythmical. Black kimono with white silk underwear and beige drape style area is a little; however, these color coordination creates effectiveness into the screen. Mitsugoro Bando II went down to Tokyo for his acting career in 1774 (Anei4). He took over the name of the Mitsugoro I. Because Mitsugoro I’s son had a long life, Mitsugoro II returned the name to Mitsugoro I’s son in 1799 (Kansei 11). After that, he named himself as Isaburo Ogino II. He died in 1829 (Bunsei 12) at the age of 80.

 

 

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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