Existence: ??? ~ 1730
Brother: Sodesaki Iroha I
Family map: the Sodesaki Clan
??? ~ 1692: he starts his career in ďsaka, performing under the name of Sodesaki Karyű. He changes the writing of his first name at an unknown date:
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1692: Karyű settles in Ky˘to.
Winter 1695 ~ 1696: Karyű goes to Edo.
Fall 1699: Karyű goes back to ďsaka.
1st lunar month of 1702: Karyű plays in the new year drama "Heishin'˘ Masakado", which is produced by Kataoka Nizaemon I in Shioya Kur˘emon's theater.
11th lunar month of 1714: Karyű plays the roles of Okaji and Mochizuki Kurozaemon's wife in the kaomise drama "Yonedawara Mangoku no Minato", which is produced by Shinozuka Sh˘matsu II for the nadai ďsaka Tazaemon; the role of Mochizuki Kurozaemon is played by Osagawa Jűemon.
11th lunar month of 1718: he decides to become tachiyaku and takes the name of Karyű Sawaemon; he plays in Ky˘to at Hayagumo Ch˘dayű's theater the roles of Kikuchi Bunz˘ and the hinin Chűbŕ in the kaomise drama "Ch˘seiden Kogane no Ishizue", which is produced by Sakakiyama Shirotar˘ I.
Winter 1727 ~ 1728: he definitively retires, taking the name of Karyű Jiemon and opening an incense shop in Edo in the district of Nihonbashi.
Karyű Sawaemon was a talented onnagata actor, endowed with a beautiful face, who achieved fame for himself in the three major cities (Edo, Ky˘to and ďsaka) from the Genroku era to the middle of the Ky˘h˘ era. "His talent was versatile, and he could act the greatest variety of women, from a princess to the wife of a coolie". He was at his best in bud˘goto female roles. He belonged to a group of four actors nicknamed "wakaonnagata no shitenn˘", literally "the big four wakaonnagata" (this expression comes from the four Deva kings in Buddhism). The three others were Mizuki Tatsunosuke I, Ogino Sawanoj˘ and Yoshizawa Ayame I. He decided to switch to tachiyaku roles when he was at the peak of his career as an onnagata: "his audiences took kindly to the change, and he did not lose his stage reputation in consequence". As a tachiyaku, jitsugotoshi roles were his forte.
(*) The 2 sentences within double quotes are from ZoŰ Kincaid in "Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan"
Karyű Sawaemon (left), Tamagawa Sennoj˘ IV (center) and Fujikawa Buzaemon I (right) playing the roles of the kar˘ Nanaura Satoemon, the k˘shitsu Hiyoshi and Kagamiyama Kageyu in the kaomise drama "Chiyo no Ume Naniwa Kagami", which was staged in the 11th lunar month of 1719 in Ky˘to
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