This portrait depicts Shiga Daishichi, the antagonist of the play entitled “A Medley of Tales of Revenge (katakiuchi noriaibanashi)”, performed at the Kiri-za Theater in May 1794. Although this picture’s color tone and structure are simple, we can feel the strength coming from the figure. The focal point is his face ? a long face with a shapely nose, curved chin, and hollowed eyes framed with red, glaring out at the viewer. Because of these facial features it feels as if he is coming towards us. Furthermore, the figure is illustrated grabbing his sword by the handle and pulling it out of his inner pocket, which is even more effective. The black kimono adds more taste to this portrait. By adding small areas of red just sticking out from the underwear and the deep brown of the inner of kimono to these simple color tones, this portrait expresses the charm of Komazo. This represents the culmination of Sharaku’s period of depicting actors.
Komazo Ichikawa III was the son of Komazo Ichikawa IV. He took over the name of Komazo when he was nine years old in 1772 (Anei 1). He became a leading actor (tachiyaku) in 1783 (Tenmei 3) and the actor of the main villain (jitsuaku) in 1798 (Kasei 10), and then succeeded Koshiro V in 1801 (Kyowa 1). He had small, sharp, sunken eyes and a high nose, which led to people calling him “High nose Koshiro”. When he was young, he did not play any important roles. However, after he started playing the role of villains, he became famous. His performance was fine, dynamic, as well as realistic. He was a highly acclaimed actor and died at the age of 75 in May 1838 (Tenpo 9).