A04 Kaomise banzuke

"Shin yakusha zuke"
Performance: 1 November, 1733(Kyoho 18) Ichimura-za theatre, Edo
Ritsumeikan Art Research Center(arcSP02-0478)

The special opening-of-the-season performances is called Kaomise performance. It took place in the eleventh month.
The list of actors called Kaomise banzuke (officially named Shinbanzuke) was published for the audience. It was a standard contract style that the actors made an annual contract with theatres, and annual salary were divided into three and paid to them in a year. Same as today's situation of professional baseball player, around September, people talked about nothing but the rumor of their favorite actor's transfer and an annual salary.
Therefore, when troupes started to distribute Kaomise banzuke, its price became higher than usual Banzuke.
On the upper half of the Kaomise banzuke, actor's names, their previous belonging theatres, and roles were printed on, and depending on actor's status, the size and thickness of the letters differed. Also in the picture bellow that all casts were painted, it reflected the exquisite power balance between actors. High status actors such as Zagashira (the leader of the troupe) and Tateoyama (the top of Oyama actors) were painted in the center. From generation to generation, Torii school took charge of the painting, and they painted actors not realistically but just applying the features of their roles to the actors.
It is said that Kaomise banzuke was created the first among various Banzuke. The surviving Kaomise banzuke published before Kyoho era are very few, so it is one of the valuable materials. (,)

Kaomise, Banzuke, Torii school