Kozasa, a wife of Washizaka Kandayu (Zenji Bando) and Fujinami, a wife of Washizaka
This portrait illustrates the characters of the wives of both the good and bad men in “Koinyobo Somewake Tazuna”, performed at the Kawarazaki-za Theater in May 1794 (Kansei 6). During Sharaku’s first period as an artist, he created five two-person standing portraits. Unique to this portrait is that the two figures are not facing each other, but instead looking in the same direction. Because of this, it was unusual for Sharaku’s portraits for the structure to be flat and have many lines. However, we can see Sharaku’s artistic power from his depiction of Zenji Bando’s complicated strong personality, which is a significant illustration of an onnagata (a male actor of female roles in kabuki). On the other hand, Kiyotaro’s moderate and mild facial expression creates the atmosphere of a good man’s wife. The bright color of the kimono also reminds us of youth. It is interesting that we can distinguish from the hand expressions who is on the good side an who is on the bad
Zenji Bando played many villains at the time. Although he was not famous, Sharaku illustrated him multiple times. This is simply because Sharaku loved his appearance. Kiyotaro Iwai was a student of Hanshiro and became Kiyotaro in 1787 (Tenmei 7). At that time of this portrait in 1794 (Kansei 6), he was not a leading actor, rather he was only in the third highest rank. Sharaku did not just illustrate leading actors: that is simply who Sharaku was.