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Actor: Ichikawa Kodanji IV (四代目市川小団次)

Alternate names:
Beishō (poetry name)
Ichikawa Eizō I (初代市川栄蔵)
Ichikawa Yonejūrō I (初代市川米十郎)
Ichikawa Yonezō III (三代目市川米蔵)

Lifetime: 1812 - 1866

Related links: Kabuki21; [Kabuki theater terms};

Biography:

This actor held this name from the spring of 1844 to 5/1866. His father-in-law was Nakamura Karoku I (1779-1859). There are three prints of that Osaka actor in the Lyon Collection.

"Kodanji IV was born in 1812 and died on the 8th day of the 5th lunar month of 1866.

Ichikawa Kodanji IV was a [short] 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 pioneer for many keren like spectacular chūnori. 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 Kyôto-Ôsaka 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 Sôgo 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")"

This information was taken directly from Kabuki21.