If you watch Japanese TV dramas or films, you’ve probably seen Kagawa Teruyuki in something. He was the sheriff in “Sukiyaki Western Django,” and played roles in “20th Century Boys,” “The Magic Hour,” “Tokyo Sonata,” several Taiga dramas, and, well, numerous other productions.
Kabuki actors (from left to right) Ichikawa Chûsha (Kagawa Teruyuki), Ichikawa Danko, Ichikawa Ennosuke, Ichikawa Kamejirô, and Ichikawa Danshirô. Photo copyright Mainichi Shimbun.
I certainly was familiar with the name, and the face, recognized him when I saw him. But I did not know that he was the son of a kabuki actor – Ichikawa Ennosuke III, founder and pioneer of the ridiculously over-the-top “Super Kabuki.”
And now, apparently, Kagawa, having reconciled with his father (who divorced Kagawa’s mother when Kagawa was very young), has declared that he will be taking the stage as a kabuki actor himself, succeeding his father. He won’t be taking the Ennosuke name immediately, but will be starting out as Ichikawa Chûsha IX, taking on a name last held by an actor who passed away in 1971, the adopted son of Kagawa’s great-great-grandfather (somehow something seems off about these generational calculations..).
Kagawa was raised by his mother for pretty much his entire life, and had little contact with or influence from the kabuki world. Given that actors normally start their training at an extremely young age (or, if not born into it, sometime around high school or college age), the idea that Kagawa should jump into this at the age of 46 seems a bit odd. But, it’s not as if he’s not an extremely experienced and skilled actor – and comical, physical actor, at that. I think he’ll pick it up quick enough. Meanwhile, his 7-year-old son will also be making his stage debut, as Ichikawa Danko V, a name last held by Ennosuke’s brother, who passed away in 1969.
Well, what a thing that will be, to see Kagawa Teruyuki on the kabuki stage! I look forward to it! 楽しみしてます！