Ichikawa Ebizō XI
6 December 1977
|Other names||Ichikawa Shinnosuke VII|
(m. 2010; died 2017)
Ichikawa Ebizō XI (born December 6, 1977) is a Japanese Kabuki, film, television actor and stage producer. He is the eldest son and successor of the celebrated Ichikawa Danjūrō XII. He is the eleventh holder of the Ebizō name.
Names and lineage
Ebizō is a member of the acting guild Naritaya, founded by Ichikawa Danjuro I, which dates back to the 17th century. Born into the Ichikawa family, he is the heir to Ichikawa Kabuki. As is the case with the names of all Kabuki actors, Ichikawa Ebizō is a yago, or stage name, that he succeeded from his father in 2004. Prior to this he went by the stage name Ichikawa Shinnosuke VII. His father Ichikawa Danjūrō XII died in 2013; in January 2019, Ebizō announced that he would adopt the name of Danjūrō, thus becoming Ichikawa Danjūrō XIII, in May 2020. The name change was postponed when Kabuki shows were cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early acting career
At a very young age, Ebizō began rigorous training: voice training to master the unusual vocalizations that characterize Kabuki, and physical training to prepare for the stylized movements and poses demanded on the stage. Ichikawa Ebizō XI appeared on stage for the first time at age five in 1983 at the Kabukiza Theater in the role of “Harumiya” in the performance of The Tale of Genji (Genji Monogatari). In 1985, he received the stage name Ichikawa Shinnosuke VII, an honorific name in the Ichikawa lineage, and made his full stage debut in the performance of Uiro-uri also at the Kabukiza Theater. In 1994, he made his first television appearance in the NHK Taiga drama, Hana no Ran, which starred his father Ichikawa Danjuro XII. And in 2003, he was cast as a leading role Miyamoto Musashi, in the NHK Taiga drama, Musashi.
In 2011, Ichikawa Ebizō XI landed a starring role in the film Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai, which premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The film Ask This of Rikyu in 2013 was a biographical film of Sen no Rikyū in which he won Best Actor at the 37th Japan Academy Film Prize for performing the title role. The following year, he starred in the film Over Your Dead Body, and in 2017 he appeared in a supporting role in the Japanese samurai film Blade of the Immortal, which also premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. He has appeared numerous times at the Kabuki-za Theater, Osaka Shochikuza Theater, Minami-za Theater, and many other theaters in Japan.
In recent years, Ebizō has been actively engaged in producing performances to reintroduce the values of traditional Japanese art to the contemporary generation in projects. Since 2012, Ebizō has produced the performance series entitled “Invitation to the Classics” to make Kabuki more accessible to smaller cities in rural Japan. Also, in 2013, 2015 and 2017, he self-produced an innovative project called “ABKAI” where the original contemporary Kabuki was introduced. On November 28, 2019, Ebizō starred as Kairennosuke in the stage production Star Wars Kabuki: Kairennosuke and the Three Shining Swords (スター・ウォーズ歌舞伎〜煉之介光刃三本〜, Sutā Uōzu Kabuki ~Rennosuke Kōjin San-pon~). In addition, his son Kangen Horikoshi portrayed a younger version of Kairennosuke in the play's third act.
His activities have taken him abroad extensively, including performances in Paris in 2004, London/Amsterdam in May–June 2006, Paris Opera in March 2007, Monaco Opera in September 2009, London/Rome in June 2010, Singapore in November 2014 and October 2015, UAE in February 2016. He has also appeared at Carnegie Hall in New York City in February 2016, which collaborated with Noh and Kyogen.
Ebizō became the first kabuki actor to hold commemorative performances at the Theatre national de Chaillot in Paris, and he earned a nomination for the prestigious Laurence Olivier Award for his work on the London stage in 2006. In 2007, France awarded him its prestigious The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in appreciation of his work.
- Sea Without Exit (2006) – Koji Namiki
- Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011) – Tsukumo Hanshiro
- Ask This of Rikyu (2013) – Sen no Rikyū
- Over Your Dead Body (2014) – Kousuke Hasegawa/Tamiya Iemon
- Blade of the Immortal (2017) – Eiku Shizuma
- NHK Taiga drama
- Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1995, TV Tokyo) – Kipposhi
- Ooka Echizen no Kami (1997, TV Tokyo) – Ichijuro Ooka
- Chushingura Nakazokyoran (2000, TV Asahi) – Nakazo Nakamura
- Mr. Brain (2009, TBS) – Kōhei Takei
- Matsumoto Seicho Drama Special Kiri no Hata (2010, Nihon TV) – Kinya Otsuka (leading role)
- Story of Machiko Hasegawa (2013, Fuji TV) – Ichikawa Ebizō IX
- Yowakutemo Katemasu (2014, NTV) – Kentarō Yachida
- Ishikawa Goemon (2016, TV Tokyo) – Ishikawa Goemon
- Okehazama (2021, Fuji TV) – Oda Nobunaga
On November 19, 2009, he announced his engagement to news presenter Mao Kobayashi.
On November 25, 2010, Ebizō got involved in a late-night brawl at a members-only bar in the Nishi Azabu district of Tokyo, and sustained serious injuries, including a burst blood vessel in his left eye. Although the assailant, a member of a motorcycle gang, was arrested and jailed, the court's judgment was that Ebizō's role in provoking the incident could not be denied. The incident caused a subsequent hiatus in his acting activities, and led to the cessation of a commercial advertising campaign featuring him. The incident received broad coverage due to Ebizō's status, and brought to public view the links that exist between the entertainment world and mobsters in Japan.
On July 25, 2011, his daughter, Reika, was born. On March 22, 2013, his son and successor, Kangen Horikoshi, was born. When Ebizō succeeds to the name of Ichikawa Danjūrō XIII in May 2020, his son will become Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII.
On June 22, 2017, Mao Kobayashi died after a protracted battle with breast cancer.
- While the stage names of all kabuki actors have retained traditional order (Surname-Givenname) on Wikipedia, birth names of those born after the Meiji Restoration are in Western order (Givenname-Surname).
- "十三代目市川團十郎白猿襲名披露興行が延期 海老蔵「忍耐強くウイルスに立ち向かうしかない」" (in Japanese). Sports Nippon. 7 April 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- Baseel, Casey (2019-12-01). "'Star Wars' becomes a kabuki play". Japan Today. Retrieved 2019-12-31.
- "市川海老蔵主演「桶狭間」緊急放送決定 映像作品で親子初共演も". Sankei Shimbun. Retrieved February 4, 2021.
- "海老蔵が出家 成田山新勝寺で得度式". デイリースポーツonline (in Japanese). Retrieved 2019-10-10.
- Japan Times