Actor: Sawamura Tanosuke III (三代目沢村田之助)

Alternate names:
Shozan (poetry name)
Sawamura Yoshijirō I (初代沢村由次郎)

Lifetime: 1845 - 1878

Related links: Kabuki21; [Kabuki theater terms};


This actor held this name from 1/1859 to July 1878.

Sawamura Tanosuke III was born on the 8th day of the 2nd lunar month of 1845 and died on July 7, 1878. His father was Sawamura Sōjūrō V (1802-53) and his brother was Suketakaya Takasuke IV (1838-86).

"An actor of the first ability was Sawamura Tanosuke, the second son of Sawamura Sōjūrō, the fifth. In the first year of Meiji, he was playing at the three chief theatres in Saruwaka-chō. At the age of 16, he began to act in leading onnagata rōles, and was a genius in the delineation of women's characters. A tragic fate overtook him, and his loss to the Tōkyō stage was very great. Suffering an injury to his feet, gangrene set in. Everything was done to save him, and he was taken to Yokohama, where an American medical missionary was consulted. Both feet, however, were amputated in the third year of Meiji. In spite of this great physical disability, Tanosuke continued to appear on the stage, supported by several black-robed property-men, and so great was his popularity that the people crowded to see him. His wife was unfaithful to him, and was on intimate terms with one of his pupils, and this added to his hopeless condition, filling the remaining days of this unfortunate onnagata star with unhappiness. The young actors who followed afterwards in Tanosuke's specialty were deprived of the stimulus and high standard he had set, and a lack of good onnagata was characteristic of the greater part of the long Meiji era." (Zoë Kincaid in Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan.)