This work illustrates one scene of Ohan and Choemon’s journey in the second kyogen, entitled “Katsuragawa Tsukino Omoide”, performed at the Kawarasaki-za Theater in July 1793 (Kansei 6). This is one of the seven large full-body two-person portraits done during Sharaku’s second period as an artist. This play is a kind of furigoto, a kabuki play based on dance, depicting their journey, accompanied by Tokiwadu music. This work is the most moderate and calm among the seven pictures because Sharaku tried to depicted attractive atmosphere. In kabuki plays with a journey, the woman’s role has more words and movement; the man’s role is called motare-yaku, and is a kind of depending role, that does not have much movement. In this picture, Sharaku captures the moment at which Choemon is standing still and Ohan is taking a moment to rest. As an actor, Hanshiro beautifully expresses Ohan’s young appearance and posture, as depicted by Sharaku.
Hanshiro Iwai IV first went to Danjuro Ichikawa IV’s school, became an adopted son of Ichikawa, and became part of the fourth generation. Because of his round face, he was called “Otafuku Hanshiro” (otafuku is a term for a homely woman, especially one with round cheeks). His style of acting was cheerful and interesting, as well as realistic. People also called him “Tayu at Meguro (where he had his second house)” or “Shirogane no Tayu”. He was the leading onnagata (a male actor who plays female roles) between 1781-1801(Tenmen and Kansei era). He died in March 1800 (Kansei 12) at the age of 54.
Hikosazuro Bando III was the youngest son of Uzaemon Ichimura VIII; he became an adopted son of Kikugoro Onoue. He was good at playing in both wagoto (a style of kabuki that emphasizes realistic speech and gestures) and jitsugoto (a kabuki play featuring a wise, righteous and clever man), as well as shosagoto (a kabuki play based on dance). His personality was also pleasant. It was said that “He did not like to be mean and rude; he loved paintings and performing tea ceremony.” Sharaku perfectly depicts Hikosaburo’s personality, who received the highest acclaim of the era for both art and personality during the Bunka-Bunsei era (1804-1830). He died in February 1829 (Bunsei 11) at the age of 75. He was 41 when this play was performed.