Ebizo to assume prestigious Kabuki name Danjuro in Nov.

Courtesy by Shochiku Co.
Ichikawa Ebizo

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo XI is set to become Ichikawa Danjuro XIII, said to be the most prestigious stage name in the world of the classical Japanese performing art, in November.

Performances to make known the 44-year-old kabuki star’s succession to the name of Ichikawa Danjuro Hakuen will be held at the Kabukiza Theater in the Ginza district in Tokyo from November to December, kabuki promoter Shochiku Co. said Tuesday.

The name-taking performances were initially scheduled for May-July 2020 but were put off due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Ebizo’s son, Kangen Horikoshi, 9, will become Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII at the same time, succeeding his father’s previous stage name. Kangen will make his debut as a kabuki actor under the new name by performing with his father.

Specific programs and actors other than Ebizo and Kangen for the upcoming performances, and a schedule for performances for the name succession outside Tokyo will be announced later.

The name of Danjuro dates back to the Edo era (1603-1868). With Ebizo assuming the name, it will be revived after a hiatus of nine years, following the death of his father, Ichikawa Danjuro XII, in 2013.

The planned use of Hakuen by Ebizo as part of the acclaimed stage name is based on his own will.

“I’m still no match at all for my father and my grandfather,” Ebizo told a press conference in January 2019, held to announce his succession to the name of Danjuro, adding that he decided to use Hakuen, which literally means white monkey, to renew his determination to continue practicing hard.

On Tuesday, Ebizo said in a statement: “I will do my best and move forward although there still are a lot of anxiety and restrictions [in society]. Making a fresh start, I’m resolved to continue efforts so as not to bring shame on past Danjuro and the family name of Ichikawa.”