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Toshusai Sharaku,The Actors Nakamura Wadaemon and Nakamura Konozo
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THE ARTIST Toshusai Sharaku is only known to have produced works for a brief period of ten months between 1794 and 1795. Very little is known of him before or after this period and his identity is the object of much conjecture among historians of Japanese art.

Sharaku had a special talent for characterizing his subjects by differentiating their facial features. This woodblock print shows a scene from the play‘A Medley of Tales of Revenge’ (Katakiuchi noriai-banashi) performed at the Kiri Theatre in the fifth month of 1794. The two subjects are strongly contrasted. On the right is Wadaemon in the role of Bodara no Chozaemon, a customer visiting a house of pleasure, with his sharp, angular features. He is pleading with Kanagawaya Gon, the chubby boatman, played by Konozo. The boatman’s narrowed eyes and snub nose suggest that he is bent on striking a hard bargain.

Toshusai Sharaku,The Actors Nakamura Wadaemon and Nakamura Konozo


From Japan, Edo period, 5th month, ad 1794 Fit 35 cm
Sir Ernest Satow Collection




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