This portrait depicts Yadorigi, the wife of Ogishi Kurando, a character in “The Iris Soga Story of the Bunroku Period (hana ayame omoino kanzashi)”, performed at the Miyako-za Theater in May 1794 (Kansei 6). The kimono he wears is gay and colorful: the outer kimono is crimson, the inner is red, and there is a scattering of white chrysanthemums on the black. In contrast, Tomisaburo’s face is long, his eyes are small, and his chin is square ? he is hardly beautiful. His kimono and facial expression are unbalanced. However, we do not think that the entire portrait loses its proportion. Sharaku did not believe that portraits of women had to be illustrated beautifully. His intention was to capture the performance and artistic quality of the actors on the stage.
Tomisaburo Segawa II was an apprentice of Kikunojuo Segawa III. He took the name Tomisaburo in 1784 (Tenmei 4). Throughout his life, people said that Tomisaburo II mimicked Kikunojo; however, he was himself a great performer. Because of the way he acted, he was known as “Niku Tomi” or “Iya Tomi”. He died in March 1804 (Bunka 1).