This portrait depicts the characteristics of the man who falls in love with Shigenoi, the wet nurse of the family baby in “Koinyobo Somewake Tazuna”, performed at the Kawarazaki-za Theater in May 1794 (Kansei 6). It seems to be a simple picture of a weak man who is naïve and was driven away from the family. Sharaku illustrates the characteristics, atmosphere, appearance, and tone of the clothes, that represent Sharaku’s technique and depth. His timid eyes, the sad expression of his mouth, his hesitant right hand: all of these add to the seriousness of the image, and the color tone of the kimono creates the atmosphere of an actor of wagoto (a style of kabuki that emphasized realistic speech and gestures). The combination of the light purple kimono with the double layers of yellow and light crimson underwear tells us everything about this character.
Monnosuke Ichikawa II was an adopted son of Monnosuke I. He was a follower of Danjuro Ichikawa IV and, in 1770, succeeded Monnosuke II and renamed himself Benzo. His appearance was gorgeous and his stage performance was gay: he was a popular leading actor in wagoto plays. One review said, “He seems to favor playing brave characters, but he fits well in a passionate role” – he obviously had played brave characters at the Ichikawa School. He died in October 1794 (Kansei 6) at the age of 52.