|ICHIKAWA DANZď VIII|
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
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 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.
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), Kawarazaki Gonjűr˘ II (Tanzaemon) and Ichikawa Ichijűr˘ V (Senoo Tar˘). Shunkan is an important role for the Ichikawa Danz˘ line of actors.
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].
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.
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.
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].
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'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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