This work depicts a role that appeared in “Koi Nyobo Somewake Taduna”, staged in the Kawarasaki-za Theather in May 1794 (Kansei 6). This is an unimportant villain, a brother of Washiduka Kandayu who was targeting the Yurugi Family. Torazo is a small and pert actor; therefore, his characteristics and facial expressions were suitable for the role of a small villain. This portrait is popular for depicting this role effectively, with a real sense of the style of kabuki. For his face, he used polishing powder and shaved part of the forehead, which we can see by the blue areas. The color tone of the deep purple kimono and black outer garmemt has good contrast that adds some taste to the picture. He bites his lips and his eyeballs are popping out of his head ? enhanced by the vivid red eyeshadow around them. His facial expression is also brilliant. This is an excellent work.
Torazo Tanimura was a student of Tatehachi Tanimura, and he played and became famous as a kamigata yakusha (an actor in the Osaka area). In 1792 (Kansei 4) when he was twenty-four, he went to Edo, and changed his name to Toraemon Otani in 1795 (Kansei 7). He had charm and skill at playing a villain, as well as kabuki dance and musical style. He became the highest rank of actor in the role of a villain in 1829 (Bunsei 12). In the spring of 1830, he died in Osaka at the age of 70.