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Eno Ichikawa, Japanese Kabuki theater actor and innovator, dies at 83

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TOKYO — Eno Ichikawa, who revived the spectacular in Japanese Kabuki theater to woo youthful and international audiences, has died. He was 83.

Ichikawa died after struggling coronary heart issues on Wednesday in Tokyo, the leisure firm Shochiku Co., a serious Kabuki producer, mentioned Saturday.

Ichikawa, or Masahiko Kinoshi, turned recognized for “Tremendous Kabuki,” incorporating fashionable music and storytelling in addition to the circus-like components of the custom — akin to “flying” supported by ropes — that had been discarded through the years. He centered on what he referred to as the three S’s: “Velocity, story and spectacle.”

Kabuki, which options reside music and dance on a revolving stage, originated within the seventeenth Century Edo period and is historically carried out solely by males. So, Ichikawa performed lovely damsels, in addition to witches, samurai and even animals all through his profession.

He’s greatest recognized for bringing again the stunt “chunori,” which interprets as “lifted into area,” portraying a joyous fox that receives from a princess a small drum comprised of the disguise of its slaughtered mother and father.

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Ichikawa was listed within the Guinness World Information in 2000 for having “flown throughout the stage and viewers for five,000 performances since April 1968.”

Hailed as “the insurgent in Kabuki” by Japanese media, Ichikawa additionally created new works. “Yamato Takeru,” based mostly on Japanese mythology and centered on a prince who battles evil forces, debuted in 1986. On the finish, the hero transforms into a powerful white chicken that flies by the theater.

Ichikawa not solely collaborated with fashionable writers and composers but additionally recruited and educated folks outdoors the Kabuki households as actors. That had been unparalleled, though such collaborations are routine now on account of Ichikawa’s efforts.

After he divorced from actress Yuko Hama, Ichikawa turned estranged from his son, Teruyuki Kagawa, a widely known actor in films and TV reveals. They later reunited, and Kagawa took up Kabuki as Chusha Ichikawa when he was in his 40s. Most Kabuki actors begin as youngsters, studying the artwork that’s handed down from grandfather to father to son.

“He was an actor who devoted his life to blazing new trails, all the time with a coronary heart that aspired to fly to the heavens, regardless of the obstacles,” Kagawa mentioned in an announcement.

“He was really blessed to have been liked by so many individuals and for giving his all to his personal Kabuki Approach.”

Kagawa’s son Danko has now began performing in Kabuki and is on observe to inherit the household roles.

“There was a lot extra I wished to study from my grandfather,” Danko mentioned.

“I vow to maintain doing my greatest, by no means forgetting the drive to soar above and the facility to dream that he so treasured,” he added.

Ichikawa continued to behave even after struggling a stroke in 2003, delivering his ultimate efficiency in 2013. He has been honored with quite a few cultural prizes, together with from the Japanese and French governments.

Tragedy struck Ichikawa’s household earlier this 12 months when his brother and fellow Kabuki actor Danshiro Ichikawa and his spouse died in an obvious triple-suicide try. Their son, Ennosuke Ichikawa, whose try failed, is about to face trial over the deaths.

A public memorial for Ichikawa is being deliberate for a later date, following household companies, based on Shochiku.


Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama

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