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Kabuki actor Ichikawa Eno II dies at 83

Eno Ichikawa (left) and his son Chusha Ichikawa attend a press conference in Tokyo, Japan in 2011. (Kyodo News via AP)
Eno Ichikawa (left) and his son Chusha Ichikawa attend a press conference in Tokyo, Japan in 2011. (Kyodo News via AP)
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16 Sep 2023 01:09:33 GMT9
16 Sep 2023 01:09:33 GMT9

TOKYO: Kabuki actor Ichikawa Eno II, the inventor of modern-style “super kabuki,” died of arrhythmia in Tokyo on Wednesday. He was 83.

A native of Tokyo, Eno, whose real name was Masahiko Kinoshi, was popular for his signature techniques such as “chunori” midair stunt and “hayagawari,” or quickly changing costumes, when he played as Ichikawa Ennosuke III.

The first son of kabuki actor Ichikawa Danshiro III, Eno debuted at the age of 7 in 1947 under the stage name of Ichikawa Danko III. He assumed Ichikawa Ennosuke III in May 1963.

Ichikawa Ennnosuke, director and actor of Japanese Kabuki traditional theater, is awarded the Paris city vermeil medal by a city hall official at the Chatelet Theater following a performance, Oct. 16, 1987, in Paris. (AP)

In 1968, Eno performed chunori in a role as Kitsune Tadanobu in “Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura Kawatsura Hogen Yakata.” In 2000, when he carried out the 5,000th chunori performance of flying across the stage and audience, Eno was recognized by the Guinness World Records for “most stage flights performed.”

Active on creating new kabuki plays, Eno played in the first performance of “Yamato Takeru,” a super kabuki work based on “Kojiki,” Japan’s oldest existing literary work composed in the eighth century, in 1986. The piece became a smash hit.

Eno set the “Ennosuke Juhachiban” repertoire of 18 kabuki plays in 1988 and “Ennosuke Shijuhassen,” a collection of 48 kabuki pieces, in 2010.

After suffering a stroke in 2003, he came back in a performance in June 2012.

At the time, Eno passed the name Ennosuke to his nephew, then Ichikawa Kamejiro II, and he himself assumed the name Ichikawa Eno II. But he left the stage after performing in late 2013.

Teruyuki Kagawa, an actor who later entered the kabuki world with the name Ichikawa Chusha IX, is the first son of Eno. Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danko V is his grandson.

Eno was awarded the Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2000 and named a Person of Cultural Merit in 2010.

JIJI Press

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