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Danjuro X

The posthumous Danjuro (1882-1956)

Danjuro X
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Born in 1882 as the second son of a wealthy merchant family in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. After graduating from Keio University, he married the eldest daughter of Danjuro IX, Mitsuko.

In 1910, after the death of Danjuro IX, he suddenly decided to become an actor. He joined the touring company of the Osaka actor Nakamura Ganjiro I, where he played just minor roles. In October of the same year he made his official debut at a major theatre, the Naka-za in Osaka, where he appeared under his real name Horikoshi Fukusaburo.

In November 1917 he acted in the Ichikawa classic The Arrow Sharpener (Ya no Ne) at the Kabuki-za in Tokyo. At this performance, aged thirty-six, he took the name Ichikawa Sansho V.

As will inevitably be the case when an amateur begins acting in middle age, there were many problems with his technique and in spite of his valiant efforts he never found favour with critics or audiences. However, through his determination and sense of responsibility in attempting to maintain the Ichikawa familyís position at an unprecedented period in its history, he must be recognized as having fulfilled his duty as head of the family.

He was noted for his scholarly bent, and he succeeded in reviving many long neglected plays from the Kabuki Eighteen repertoire, including Salvation (Gedatsu), Fuwa, Pulling an Elephant (Zohiki), The Repeller of Demons (Oshimodoshi), Seven Masks (Nanatsumen), and Snake Willow (Jayanagi).

He died on February 1st, 1956, aged seventy-three. He was posthumously named as Danjuro X on the recommendation of his successor, Ebizo IX (later Danjuro XI).

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Text : Hattori Yukio, Ichikawa Danjuro Daidai. Tokyo: Kodansha, 2002.
Photographs : Collection of Ichikawa Danjuro.
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