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Actor: Onoe Shōroku I (初代尾上松緑)

Alternate names:
Jusen (poetry name - 重扇)
Sanchō (poetry name - 三朝)
Shōroku (poetry name - 松緑)
Onoe Matsusuke I (初代尾上松助)
Onoe Tokuzō (尾上徳蔵)

Lifetime: 1744 - 1815

Related links: Kabuki21; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - an early Kuniyoshi print showing Kikugorō III performing in a play dedicated to Shōroku I; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - an 1810 Toyokuni I triptych showing Shōroku I in the cast;

Biography:

This actor held this name from 11/1809 until his death in 10/1815.

Shōroku I was born in 1744 and died on the 16th day of the 10th lunar month of 1815.

Onoe Shōroku I started his brilliant career as an onnagata but became famous as an amazing tachiyaku. He was a great jitsuaku in his latter years. His forte were ghosts plays and hayagawari techniques.

Onoe Shōroku I was also a talented musician and the owner of a cosmetics shop in the district of Fukiya-Chō in Edo.

Onoe Kikugorō III (三代目尾上菊五郎) was his adopted son. There are more than 25 prints in the Lyon Collection representing Kikugorō III while there is only one devoted to Shōroku I.

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As Shōroku I this actor appeared in prints designed by Toyokuni I and Kunisada. There is an early Kuniyoshi print showing Onoe Kikugorō III as a blind musician in a play dedicated to the memory of Shōroku I.

Shōroku had played a frightening ghost, Tachibana no Hayanari, as early as 1784 while acting under the stage name of Matsusuke I.

The name Shōroku itself is interesting in that literally it means 'green' 'pine tree'. As you may have noticed his previous acting name was Matsusuke where the first character also reads as 'pine tree', but is read differently phonetically. (JSV)

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D. Max Moerman tells us that Onoe Shōroku I was "...an actor who began his career as a prostitute..."

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