Real name: Okada Kikusabur˘
Poetry names: Rikaku, Rik˘
Existence: 15th day of the 9th lunar month of 1848 ~ 27 March 1904
Adoptive father: Arashi Rikaku II
15th day of the 9th lunar month of 1848: born in Ky˘to in a Kabuki-liking family (his father Iseya Kisabur˘ is a government official), he starts to learn traditional dance and music at an early age.
3rd lunar month of 1858: he becomes disciple of the star Arashi Rikan III, who gives him the name of Arashi Rikimaru. He plays the role of Sodehagi's daughter Okimi in the drama "ďshű Adachi-ga-Hara", which is staged at the Minamigawa no Shibai; the role of Sodehagi is played by Arashi Rikan III.
1858 ~ 1864: he takes the name of Arashi Rikimatsu at an unknown dates and joins a travelling troupe of children-actors performing in miyaji shibai. He goes on tour in both Kyűshű and Shikoku.
21st day of the 4th lunar month of 1863: his master Arashi Rikan III dies.
1864: he is adopted by Arashi Rikaku II and receives the name of Arashi Yoshisabur˘.
14th day of the 7th lunar month of 1864: his adoptive father Arashi Rikaku II dies.
1865: Arashi Yoshisabur˘ takes the name of Arashi Rikaku III.
1866: he quarrels with the widow of Arashi Rikaku II and decides to leave ďsaka.
2nd lunar month of 1867: Rikaku goes to Edo. He changes the writing of his first name:
You need a Japanese Language Kit installed within your system in order to be able to read the characters
7th lunar month of 1869: premiere at the Nakamuraza of Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kichisama Mairu Yukari no Otozure"; Rikaku plays the roles of Kobori Samonnosuke, the Enj˘ji page Kamesabur˘ and It˘ Kichinoshin [casting].
1871: Rikaku is sent to prison because of his involvement in a murder by poisoning.
This story is about a notorious dokufu, so-called ôpoison-womanö, who was named Okinu.
She was of humble origins but became a famous geisha in Edo. Later, she was nicknamed Yoarashi Okinu (literally Night Storm Okinu).
She poisoned with arsenic her current "official" lover, a man named Kobayashi Kinpei, in order to be freely with her new lover, who was none other than Rikaku.
The actor was himself involved deeply in the plot; he was arrested and initially condemned to death along with Okinu.
Since Okinu was pregnant, however, her execution was postponed. Rikakuĺs sentence was eventually moderated and he served "only" three years in jail.
The same clemency did not applied to the murderer; after giving birth, Okinu was finally executed. Her head was cut off and displayed in public for several days.
All the details of this poisoning case are well explained in a great article written by Trevor Skingle:
1874: Rikaku comes out of prison and goes back to the Kabuki world; he becomes disciple of the actor Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX.
October 1874: he takes the name of Ichikawa Gonjűr˘ at the Kawarazakiza, playing the role of Sakurai Shinnoj˘ in Kawatake Shinshichi II's drama "Kumo no Ueno San'e no Sakumae", which is premiered in this theater [casting].
July 1890: premiere at the Shintomiza of "Kiyomasa Seichűroku", a revised version of Kawatake Shinshichi III's 1875 drama "Minori no Aki Seish˘ Denki". It was part of a special 2-day gala program starring Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX; Gonjűr˘ plays the role of Katagiri Katsumoto [more details].
March 1891: premiere at the Kabukiza of Fukuchi ďchi's drama "Buyű no Homare Shusse Kagekiyo", a revised revival of Chikamatsu Monzaemon's jidaimono "Shusse Kagekiyo"; Gonjűr˘ plays the role of Hatakeyama Shigetada [casting].
March 1899: premiere at the Meijiza of the drama "Kurotegumi Kuruwa no Tatehiki", which gathers the main scenes from the sukerokumono part of Kawatake Shinshichi II's 1858 drama "Edo Zakura Kiyomizu Seigen"; Gonjűr˘ plays the role of Torii Shinzaemon [casting].
March 1903: premiere at the Kabukiza of the drama "Kichirei Soga no Ishizue", which is produced to celebrate the shűmei of Onoe Kikugor˘ VI, Onoe Baik˘ VI and Onoe Eizabur˘ VI; Gonjűr˘ plays the role of Kobayashi Asahina Sabur˘ [casting]. This is his last stage performance; victim of a sudden pneumonia, he has to retire.
13 September 1903: his master Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX dies.
27 March 1904: Gonjűr˘ dies in T˘ky˘.
Ichikawa Gonjűr˘ was a tachiyaku actor, born and trained in Kamigata, who became one of the best disciples of Ichikawa Danjűr˘ IX. His most striking features were great vocal projection, great lines delivery and ... a terrible Kamigata accent. He was also involved in a famous criminal case which led him to the T˘ky˘ jails, where he spent three years. His others notable performances include the roles of Mizuno Jűr˘zaemon ("Yudono no Ch˘bŕ") and Lord Ii Kamon-no-Kami Naotaka ("ďsakazuki Shusen no Tsuwamono").
Ichikawa Gonjűr˘ playing the role of Matsudaira Izu-no-Kami in a print made by Toyohara Kunichika
The Arashi Yoshisabur˘ line of actors
The Arashi Rikaku line of actors
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