ICHIKAWA KODANJI IV

Stage names:

Ichikawa Kodanji IV
Ichikawa Yonejűr˘ I
Ichikawa Yonez˘ III
Ichikawa Eiz˘ I

Real name: Takashimaya Eita

Guild: Takashimaya

Line number: YODAIME (IV)

Poetry name: Beish˘

Existence: 1812 ~ 8th day of the 5th lunar month of 1866

Connections:

Master: Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VII

Father-in-law: Nakamura Karoku I

Sons: Ichikawa Sai'nyű, Ichikawa Kodanji V

Adopted sons: Ichikawa Sadanji I, Ichikawa Yonejűr˘ II

Grandson: Ichikawa Udanji II

Great-grandson: Ichikawa Unosuke II

Great-great-grandson: Ichikawa Unosuke III

Disciples: Ichikawa Arajir˘ I, Ichikawa Yonejűr˘ III, Ichikawa Beish˘ I, Ichikawa Kobunji I, Ichikawa Yonekur˘

Career:

1812: born in Edo. He is the son of Takashimaya Eiz˘, a fireworks-seller at the Ichimuraza.

1820: he becomes a disciple of the actor Ichikawa Danjűr˘ VII.

4th lunar month of 1821: he makes his first appearance on stage, at the Nakamuraza, where he receives the name of Ichikawa Eiz˘ I.

1822: Ichikawa Eiz˘ I takes the name of Ichikawa Yonez˘ III.

8th lunar month of 1829: Ichikawa Yonez˘ III takes the name of Ichikawa Yonejűr˘ I.

Spring 1844: Ichikawa Yonejűr˘ I takes the name of Ichikawa Kodanji IV at the Kado no Shibai, playing in the drama "Keisei Ishikawa-zome".

2nd lunar month of 1847: Kodanji plays at the Kado no Shibai the role of Tadanobu in the drama "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura". His stage partners are Ichikawa Ebiz˘ V (Yoshitsune), Arashi Kichisabur˘ III (Yokawa no Zenji Kakuhan) and Arashi Rikaku II (Shizuka Gozen). He performs the same role in the same play in Ky˘to at the Kitagawa no Shibai in the 5th lunar month.

Fall 1847: Kodanji goes back to Edo.

11th lunar month of 1847: Kodanji plays at the Ichimuraza in the drama "Genke Hachidai Megumi no Tsuwamono"; he also plays all the roles of a 7-role hengemono entitled "Shiki Utsushi Tosae no Futsutsuka" [more details].

9th lunar month of 1850: premiere at the Nakamuraza of the drama "Minoriyoshi Kogane no Kikuzuki"; Kodanji plays the role of the koshimoto Okiku [more details].

4th lunar month of 1851: premiere at the Nakamuraza of the Tokiwazu-based dance "Kioi Jishi Kabuki no Hanakago", commonly called "Kioi Jishi", starring Band˘ Takesabur˘ I, Onoe Kikujir˘ II, Iwai Kumesabur˘ III and Kodanji.

8th lunar month of 1851: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Segawa Jok˘ III's drama "Higashiyama Sakura S˘shi" (commonly called "Sakura Giminden"); Kodanji plays the roles of Asakura T˘go, Sumahei and Shinonome [casting].

3rd lunar month of 1854: premiere at the Kawarazakiza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Miyakodori Nagare no Shiranami"; Kodanji plays the roles of Shinobu no S˘ta (in reality Yamada Rokur˘, a retainer of the Yoshida clan) and Minez˘ [casting].

7th lunar month of 1856: Kodanji plays at the Ichimuraza the three major male roles of the classic "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura", namely Tadanobu, Tomomori and Gonta.

9th lunar month of 1856: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's 9-act drama "Tsuta Momiji Utsunoya T˘ge". The 2 leading stars are Kodanji (the blind masseur Bun'ya and the thief Niza) and Band˘ Kamez˘ I (Itamiya Jűbŕ).

11th lunar month of 1856: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Sh˘chikubai Yuki no Akebono"; Kodanji plays the role of Yaoya Oshichi [casting]. Premiere at the Ichimuraza of the dance "Joro no Makoto Osada no Chűk˘"; Kodanji plays the role of the tengű [casting].

7th lunar month of 1857: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Ami Moy˘ T˘ro no Kikukiri" (commonly called "Kozaru Shichinosuke"); Kodanji plays the roles of Kozaru Shichinosuke and Nakamanjiya Yahŕ [casting].

3rd lunar month of 1858: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Edo Zakura Kiyomizu Seigen"; the nibanme of this drama is now entitled "Kurotegumi Kuruwa no Tatehiki" in the Kabuki repertoire (commonly called "Kurotegumi Sukeroku"); Kodanji plays the roles of Seigen and Sukeroku [more details].

2nd lunar month of 1859: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kosode Soga Azami no Ironui" (commonly called "Izayoi Seishin"); Kodanji plays the role of the priest Seishin, who becomes the thief Seikichi, [casting].

9th lunar month of 1859: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's Kiyomoto-based dance "Jitsugetsusei Chűya no Oriwake", commonly called "Ryűsei". The leading roles are played by Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘ I, Iwai Kumesabur˘ III and Kodanji.

1st lunar month of 1860: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Sannin Kichisa Kuruwa no Hatsugai"; Kodanji plays the roles of Osh˘ Kichisa and Kiya Bunri [casting].

3rd lunar month of 1860: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kagamiyama Gonichi no Iwafuji"; Kodanji plays the roles of the ghost of Iwafuji and Torii Matasuke [casting].

7th lunar month of 1860: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Hachiman Matsuri Yomiya no Nigiwai" (commonly called "Chijimiya Shinsuke"); Kodanji plays the role of Shinsuke [casting].

8th lunar month of 1861: premiere at the Moritaza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Sakura S˘shi Gonichi no Bundan", a revised version of Segawa Jok˘ III's drama "Higashiyama Sakura S˘shi"; Kodanji plays the roles of Asakura T˘go, Katagiri Saiz˘ and K˘zen [casting].

10th lunar month of 1861: premiere at the Moritaza of Segawa Jok˘ III's drama "Z˘ho Futatsu Domoe"; Kodanji plays the roles of the farmer Yonesaku and Ishikawa Goemon [casting].

8th lunar month of 1862: premiere at the Moritaza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kanzen Ch˘aku Nozoki Garakuri"; Kodanji plays the roles of Murai Ch˘an and the Iseya bant˘ Kyűhachi [casting].
Revival at the Moritaza of the drama "Miyajima no Danmari", with a new script written by Kawatake Shinshichi II and starring Kodanji in the leading roles of the courtesan Ukifune and the thief Kesatar˘.

2nd lunar month of 1864: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Soga Moy˘ Tateshi no Goshozome"; Kodanji plays the roles of Gosho no Goroz˘ and Yuri-no-Kata [casting].

11th lunar month of 1864: premiere at the Ichimuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Koharunagi Okitsu Shiranami" (commonly called "Kogitsune Reiza"); Kodanji plays the role of Nippon Daemon [casting].

2nd lunar month of 1866: Kodanji appears on stage for the last time, at the Moritaza, playing the roles of Oni˘ Shinzaemon, Kud˘ Saemon Suketsune, the ghost of Kawazu Sabur˘ Sukeyasu, Chichibu no Sh˘ji Shigetada and Ikake Matsu in the new year drama "Fuji to Mimasu Suehiro Soga".

8th day of the 5th lunar month of 1866: Kodanji dies in Edo.

Comments:

Ichikawa Kodanji IV was a short-sized actor, who had none of the physical features, which are essential for Kabuki stars (great voice, fine eyes, beautiful face) but became one of the best tachiyaku of the nineteenth century. He excelled in hayagawari and was a pionner for many keren like spectacular chűnori. It is his association with the leading playwright Kawataki Mokuami, which makes him of interest in the history of pre-Meiji Kabuki. The two formed a very close partnership and Mokuami wrote some of his best sewamono for Ichikawa Kodanji IV.

"Ichikawa Kodanji IV was the son of a vendor of hinawa (the match cord used for lighting pipe tobacco)-an occupation held in low esteem even in theater society. Once, brutally kicked by a superior, young Kodanji fell headlong from a building's second story and lost consciousness. After a wretched childhood in Edo, Kodanji pursued his artistic apprenticeship during an adolescence in the Ky˘to-ďsaka region. As a full-fledged actor, during the mid-1800s he took back with him to the Edo troupes the realism and stylization of the western theater style. He was not favored by nature with an attractive physical appearance, but the feverish intensity of his art in the title roles of Chijimiya Shinsuke, Ikake Matsu, or Sakura S˘go exceedingly true to life. In 1866, during his performance in "Ikake Matsu", a notice from the office of the Edo magistrate decreed: "During recent years, dramas depicting current life have probed too far into human feelings. Since this tendency is detrimental to the manners of society, plays should reflect human feelings as little as possible." At this, Kodanji could only grieve: he had no way to express his resentment, nor any choice but to give up acting. The very next day his health began a rapid decline; death followed shortly at age fifty-five, at the very pinnacle of his career." (Masakatsu Gunji in "Tokugawa Japan")

Ichikawa Kodanji IV playing the role of Danshichi Kurobŕ in the drama "Hana Sh˘bű Otoko Kagami", which was staged in the 5th lunar month of 1855 at the Nakamuraza (print made by Utagawa Toyokuni III)

Print made by Utagawa Toyokuni in 1854

Print made by Utagawa Toyokuni in 1856

Print made by Utagawa Toyokuni in 1858

Print made by Utagawa Toyokuni in 1859

Print made by Utagawa Kunisada in 1861

Print made by Utagawa Yoshiiku in 1862

The Ichikawa Yonez˘ line of actors

The Ichikawa Yonejűr˘ line of actors

The Ichikawa Kodanji line of actors

 
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