I went to a special exhibit at Tokyo National Museum titled ‘Sharaku’. Although it was a rainy day, the exhibit was crowded with people. Personally, I was impressed especially with his earlier works. They were strong and vivrant.
However his works are attractive certainly, his mysterious profile would attract people more.
He made a debut in May 1794, and created about 145 works, and then suddenly left in just 10 month! Also his name ‘Tosyusai Sharaku’ was a false name. ‘Who was he?’ and ‘Why did he disappear all of sudden?’ has been one of the biggest mysteries in the Japanese art world.
Some reseachers say ‘Sharaku’ was not a person’s name but a group name. Because his earlier works and later works are too different. So ‘Sharaku’ must have consisted of a few artists. But today many reseachers agree on an idea that ‘Sharaku’ was a Samurai with a real name ‘Saito Jyurobei’
Anyway this exhibition showed well the features of Ukiyoe by diplaying the same themed works side by side.