D03 Ichikawa Danjyuro the Forth

"Kakekiyo Ichikawa Danjyuro"
Artist: Torii-school Hosoban, 紅摺絵
Published: ca.1760(Horeki 10), in Edo
Ritsumeikan Art Research Center(arcHS03-0007-3_02)

Ichikawa Danjyuro the forth was born in 1711(Shotoku 1) and died on 27 February 1778(Anei 7) when he was 67 years old. His original family was not a Kabuki actor's lineage, which ran a tea house beside theatres in Sakaimachi of Edo. In 1713(Shotoku 3), he was adopted to Matsumoto Koshiro the first and he succeeded his foster father's stage name in 1735 (Kyoho 20) and he adopted again to Ichikawa Danjyuro the second. In 1754(Horeki 4), he was finally inherited the great stage name Ichikawa Danjyuro the forth when he was 43years old.
His appearance was not suitable for the heir of Ichikawa family which featured its characteristic acting style called "Aragoto" (rough and dynamic), because he was thin and had a narrow face. This is because he was criticized "Danjyuro unlike 'Danjyuro'" in a certain period when he didn't succeeded in Aragoto and he gained good reputation only for acting a gloomy character Kagekiyo. However, once he acted a character who was a villain at first and converted into a good person, the former was his strength, he became popular. After that, he played some roles in trend which was applied to typical Edokko (a person was born and raised in Edo), and gained more popularity so that he was a predominant actor at that time and he became a leader of Kabuki in the middle of Edo period. To this day, this kind of characters which he established have been a model for Kabuki actors.
He handed his stage name to his son and started to use the name Matsumoto Koshiro again from 1770(Meiwa 7) and referred to his name as Ichikawa Ebizo the third in later. From this time, he was frequently absent from the stages and finally he retired in Autumn of 1776(Anei 5).
After his retirement, he started the lectures for actors, it was called "Shugyo-ko" (lit. training lecture). In this course, he taught the importance to maintain traditional formality even when the audience's demand transferred because of the trend of Gidayu (narrative chanting) and progress of stage systems. He talked especially to his son Ichikawa Danjyuro the fifth.
A significant actor Nakamura Nakazo the first who is still famous for his acting style to play the villain Ono Sadakuro in the five act of Kanadehon Chushingura also attended the lecture. However, about the origin of his technique for acting Ono Sadakuro, there exist two kinds of stories. The popular one distributed through Rakugo (traditional comic storytelling) is that Nakazo inspired by a soaked Ronin rushed into the Soba restaurant when he was considering about it. And another one is that it was originally proposed by Ichikawa Danjyuro the fifth at the lecture and rejected by his father Danjyuro the forth. He emphasized the importance to keep traditional formality as the person who inherited the name of "Ichikawa Danjyuro" which is a top of Kabuki actors. (,)