Kabuki Actor Ichikawa Ebizō (Ichikawa Danjūrō V) in the play The Colored Reins of a Loving Wife (Koi nyōbō somewake tazuna)
Tōshūsai Sharaku (Japanese, active 1794–95)
Edo period (1615–1868)
5th month, 1794
Polychrome woodblock print; ink and color on paper with mica ground
14 15/32 x 9 3/5 in. (36.8 x 24.4 cm)
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund and Rogers Fund, 1949
Not on view
Sharaku created bold and stylized depictions of Kabuki actors by focusing on bust portraits. He thus could concentrate on the facial expressions and hand gestures of his subjects.
In this portrait, one of Sharaku's most famous works, Ebizō (Danjūrō V) acts the part of a samurai warrior of tremendous integrity in a moment of insufferable moral conflict. Immediately afterward, he will commit seppuku, suicide by disembowelment, to preserve his honor. This close-up image of Danjūrō V in the role of Takemura Sadanoshin shows a strong sense of tension and immediacy.