Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo will take on the esteemed stage name of Danjuro in November.

Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo will assume his family’s prestigious and age-old stage name of Danjuro in November, after a two-year delay due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Shochiku Co., a producer of Kabuki performances, said Tuesday.

Ebizo, a prominent figure in the world of Kabuki, also known for his work in television and film, will now be called Ichikawa Danjuro Hakuen. The 44-year-old said in a statement that he bears a “heavy responsibility” to shoulder such a “big name” in Kabuki.

The stage name was established in the later part of the 17th century and picked up by the Kabuki actors of the Ichikawa family. He is considered the most prestigious of Kabuki stage names.

He will be the 13th holder of the distinguished name after his father Ichikawa Danjuro XII, who died in 2013.

Ebizo will perform in November and December in a series of performances at Tokyo’s Kabukiza Theater to celebrate the succession of his name.

“I will do my best to move forward (in my craft) so that I can bring joy to as many people as possible,” he said in the statement.

Ebizo is known for creating new stage programs to break away from traditional performances, with his recent notable appearances including a performance at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics held in July 2021.

Ebizo first took the stage when he was 5 years old and became Ichikawa Shinnosuke VII in 1985. In 2004 he became Ichikawa Ebizo XI.

After the succession of Ebizo’s name, his 9-year-old son, Kangen Horikoshi, would become Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII.

His wife Mao Kobayashi, a television personality, has drawn attention for her blog detailing her battles with breast cancer. She passed away in 2017.

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