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Actor: Iwai Hanshirō V (五代目岩井半四郎)

Alternate names:
Baiga (poetry name)
Tojaku (poetry name - 杜若)
Iwai Kumesaburō I (初代岩井粂三郎)
Iwai Tojaku (岩井杜若)

Lifetime: 1776 - 1847

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Biography:

Iwai Hanshirō V held this name from 11/1804 to 10/1832. His father was Hanshirō IV (1747-1800). His father-in-law was Sawamura Sōjūrō III (1753-1801). His sons were Iwai Hanshirō VI (1799-1836) and Iwai Hanshirō VII (1804-45). His grandson Iwai Hanshirō VIII (1829-82). His nephew Sawamura Kinpei II (dates unknown).

Hanshirō V made his debut in Edo in 11/1787 as Iwai Kumesaburō I. He held this name until he took the name Hanshirō V.

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"Iwai Hanshirō V, an extremely 'pretty' actor, was the representative onnagata of the Bunka-Bunsei era. The public called him by the pet name of me-senryō or thousand-ryō eyes, for his eyes were remarkably beautiful and expressive. (Kawarasaki Gonjurō I was also called me-senryō.) Hanshirō was a skillful actor, showing his amazing versatility in a wide range of roles, from musume-gata (young women) to tachi-yaku (leading male characters). He established the role of the akuba (bad woman), and his stylization remains the kata for roles of wicked women.... The black costume worn by Gompachi originated with Hanshirō....

Hanshirō was prolific in contriving fresh ideas for patterns. His Hanshirō kanoko (small-spot shibori or tie-dyeing resembling the spots on a fawn's hide) in the asanoha (hemp-leaf) pattern in blue and red was first used for the costume of Yaoya Oshichi - Oshichi the greengrocer's daughter - in a play given in March 1809 at the Moritaza.

The Iwaigushi, a crescent-shaped comb designed by Hanshirō for use in the role of Mikazuki Osen, was considered very chic and became the rage among style-conscious ladies. It was one of numerous things described as having iki, the commoners' word for aplomb, dash, and spruceness."

Quoted from: Kabuki Costume by Ruth Shaver.

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Artists who portrayed this actor in print include Eizan, Kunihiro, Kunimasu, Kuniyasu, Kuniyoshi, Kunisada, his teacher Toyokuni I, Toyokuni II, Nagahide, Yoshikuni, Sadakage, Shunchō, Shunkei, Shunkō and Shuntei.