Stage names:

Ichikawa Danz˘ VIII In Japanese
Ichikawa Kuz˘ IV In Japanese
Ichikawa Momotar˘ III In Japanese
Ichikawa Ginz˘ II In Japanese

Guild: Mikawaya

Line number: HACHIDAIME (VIII)

Poetry names: Juen, San'en, Shik˘

Existence: 15 May 1882 ~ 4 June 1966


Father: Ichikawa Danz˘ VII

Adopted son: Ichikawa Kuz˘ V

Grandson (and adopted son): Ichikawa Danz˘ IX

Great-grandsons: Ichikawa Ginnosuke II, Ichikawa Momotar˘ V


1882: born in T˘ky˘ in the district of Nihonbashi Hisamatsu.

1885: he makes his first stage appearance at the Torigoeza, under his real name, playing a child role in the drama "Nichirenki".

1896: Ichikawa Ginz˘ II becomes Ichikawa Momotar˘ III at the Asakusaza.

1897: Momotar˘ joins a children-actors troupe, in which plays Nakamura Kichiemon I.

March 1908: Ichikawa Momotar˘ III takes the name of Ichikawa Kuz˘ IV at the Kabukiza by playing the role of Shirai Gonpachi in the drama "Suzu-ga-Mori".

March 1910: Kuz˘ plays at the Miyatoza the role of Miuranosuke in the drama "Kamakura Sandaiki". His stage partners in the roles of Sasaki Takatsuna and Princess Toki are Arashi Yoshisabur˘ IV and Band˘ Shűch˘ III.

September 1911: his father Ichikawa Danz˘ VII dies. Kuz˘ plays at the Kirakuza (Yokohama) the roles of Sodehagi and Abe no Sadat˘ in the drama "ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara".

January 1914: Kuz˘ plays at the T˘ky˘za the roles of En'ya Hangan and Hayano Kanpei in the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura". His stage partners are Ichikawa Kudanji (Moron˘), Sawamura Tosshi VII (Yuranosuke) and Ichikawa Kigan V (Okaru).

July 1920: Kuz˘ plays at the Hong˘za the prestigious role of Shunkan in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's "Heike Nyogo no Shima". His stage partners are Nakamura Kamon I (Chidori), Kawarasaki Gonjűr˘ II (Tanzaemon) and Ichikawa Ichijűr˘ V (Senoo Tar˘). Shunkan is an important role for the Ichikawa Danz˘ line of actors.

April 1926: Kuz˘ plays at the Hong˘za the role of Yakushiji Jir˘zaemon in the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

October 1927: revival at the Hong˘za of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunsh˘", produced under the title "Kiyomizudera Azuma Bunsh˘", which has not been staged since 3rd lunar month of 1817; Kuz˘ plays the role of Iruma Akugor˘ [casting].

May 1932: Kuz˘ plays at the Kabukiza the roles of Ono no Kudayű and Kakogawa Honz˘ in the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

October 1933: premiere at the T˘ky˘ Gekij˘ of Yoshida Genjir˘'s drama "Nij˘-j˘ no Kiyomasa"; Kuz˘ plays the role of Ikeda Terumasa [more details].

February 1934: premiere at the Kabukiza of "ďishi Saigo no Ichinichi", the tenth and last play of Mayama Seika's cycle "Genroku Chűshingura"; Kuz˘ plays the role of Chikamatsu Kanroku [casting].

September 1935: Kuz˘ plays at the Kabukiza (Nagoya) the roles of Moron˘ and Fuwa Kazuemon in the classic "Kanadehon Chűshingura".

October 1943: Ichikawa Kuz˘ IV takes the name of Ichikawa Danz˘ VIII.

December 1946: Danz˘ is a member of the Kabuki troupe which celebrates the reopening of the rebuilt Mitsukoshi Gekij˘ [more details].

January 1953: Danz˘ plays at Kabukiza the role of Yas˘zaemon in the drama "Shigenoi Kowakare". The role of Shigenoi is played by Nakamura Tokiz˘ III.

November 1954: premiere at the Kabukiza of Mishima Yukio's comical play "Iwashi Uri Koi no Hikiami"; Danz˘ plays the role of the proprietor [casting].

February 1955: Izumi Ky˘ka's drama "Tenshu Monogatari" is staged for the first time with Kabuki actors, at the Kabukiza; Danz˘ plays the role of ďminoj˘ T˘roku [casting].

October 1955: Danz˘ plays at the Misonoza (Nagoya) the role of Ikyű in the drama "Sukeroku Kuruwa no Momoyogusa". The roles of Sukeroku and Agemaki are played by Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII and Nakamura Utaemon VI.

March 1956: premiere in Kabuki at the Meijiza of H˘j˘ Hideji's drama "Ii Tair˘"; Danz˘ plays the role of the zenji Sen'ei [more details].

July 1956: revival at the Kabukiza of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Sumidagawa Hana no Goshozome", commonly called "Onna Seigen"; Danz˘ plays the role of the Shinkiyomizu chief priest Todorokib˘ [more details].

June 1958: revival at the T˘yoko Hall of the drama "Kishi no Himematsu Kutsuwa Kagami"; Danz˘ plays the role of Yomosaku [more details].

November 1959: revival at the Kabukiza of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunsh˘", which is supervised by Mishima Yukio; Danz˘ plays the role of Tsunaemon [casting].

February 1960: premiere at the Kabukiza of Uno Nobuo's drama "Shiranui Kengy˘"; Danz˘ plays the role of Shiranui Kengy˘ I [casting].

June 1961: Danz˘ plays at the Kabukiza the role of Sh˘gen in Chikamatsu Monzaemon's "Keisei Hangonk˘". The roles of Matahei and Otoku are played by Onoe Sh˘roku II and Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII.

October 1962: Danz˘ plays for the last time the role of Yazaemon, at Kabukiza, in the "Sushiya" scene of the play "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura".

September 1963: Danz˘ plays for the last time the role of Soga no Iruka, at the Misonoza (Nagoya), in the "Mikasayama Goten" scene of the classic "Imoseyama Onna Teikin".

April 1966: Danz˘ appears on stage for the last time, at Kabukiza, playing the roles of Kiichi H˘gen and Ikyű in the "Kikubatake" scene of "Kiichi H˘gen Sanryaku no Maki" and "Sukeroku Kuruwa no Momoyogusa" (the role of Sukeroku is played by Nakamura Kanzabur˘ XVII). Danz˘ retires because of health problems.

May ~ June 1966: Danz˘ makes a pilgrimage, visiting the 88 temples on Shikoku island.

June 1966: Danz˘ jumps from the boat, which brings him back from Shikoku to ďsaka, and drowns in the Seto Nankai Sea.


Ichikawa Danz˘ VIII was a talented supporting tachiyaku and katakiyaku.

Ichikawa Danz˘ VIII's best roles: Soga no Iruka ("Imoseyama Onna Teikin"), Nagao Kenshin ("Honch˘ Nijűshik˘"), Hansai ("Obiya"), Karainu Gonbŕ ("Yudono no Ch˘bŕ"), Rokur˘dayű ("Ishikiri Kajiwara"), Tsuribune Sabu ("Natsu Matsuri Naniwa Kagami"), H˘j˘ Tokimasa ("Moritsuna Jin'ya"), Gonshir˘ ("Hirakana Seisuiki") and Ikyű ("Sukeroku").

"Ichikawa first appeared on stage as a child in arms. When he retired in April 1966, it was celebrated as eighty-two years on stage. After the fetes and final farewell performance, he traveled to Shikoku and set off, alone, to follow the Eighty-eight Temple Route of K˘b˘ Daishi. It was a remarkable undertaking for a man in his late years, and there are suggestions that he never expected to finish the pilgrimage, that he expected to die on the road. But Ichikawa finished his trek at the end of May, after the sakura had fallen and the circle had closed. He was at a loss over what to do. He sailed for Sh˘do, apparently to complete that island's Pilgrimage as well - but something changed his mind. Why he chose to leave the final circle unfinished remains a mystery. Perhaps he was simply tired. --- --- Ichikawa's death became legend, the ultimate act of autonomy, the pilgrim deciding for himself how the journey would end. In Japanese Pilgrimage, Oliver Statler writes,"His was not an act of desperation but of resolution. He walked out of life he had walked off the stage, with composure" (Will Ferguson in "Hokkaid˘ Highway Blues: Hitchhiking Japan")

The Ichikawa Momotar˘ line of actors

The Ichikawa Kuz˘ line of actors

The Ichikawa Danz˘ line of actors

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