This portrait depicts Kawashima Jibugoro, who appeared as a villain in “Nihon Matsu Mutsu Sodachi”, performed at the Kawarasaki-za Theater in July 1794 (Kansei 6). His role was to kill Tomida Kaidayu in the second act of the first play. There is a picture depicting Omezo Ichikawa as Tomida Heitaro (a son of Kaidayu); therefore, we know that this was part of a series of pictures. Although they are a set, each of them are known individually as excellent works. The grayish background implies the dark night and it contrasts with the dark gray of the kimono (in some versions this is dark green) and the crimson in the underwear. These colors represent his cruel role. The white in the hood creates a rather strange atmosphere. Jibugoro raises his right hand and hides his face, and grabs his head with his left hand. From his upper body to lower body there is a strong curved shape. His facial expression is excellent, enhanced by the red around his eyes, the blue areas of shaved head, and his glaring look. Sharaku depicts Jibugoro’s mind better than any other, especially in this scene of manslaughter.
Oniji Otani II was a student of Horoji Otani III. Oniji was first named Eisuke, then Haruji, then took over his master’s name, Oniji. Sharaku also illustrated his succession to kyogen plays. Oniji died the same year as his succession, November 1796 (Kansei 8), at the age of 36.