The Real Reason Why Tickets Failed to Sell for Danjuro’s Succession Show | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Real Reason Why Tickets Failed to Sell for Danjuro’s Succession Show

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The success of the show depends on the popularity of Kangen Horikoshi, aka Shinnosuke Ichikawa VIII

The “Ichikawa Danjuro XIII Shirousyu Shirasyo Unveiling Performance” by Danjuro Ichikawa (44), aka Ebizo Ichikawa, began on November 7. However, on November 7, the first day of the show, there were still empty seats in the first-class seats of the daytime performance, priced at 23,000 yen, available for purchase on Shochiku’s website (as of November 5).

Although it was only a few, it was still unprecedented. To be honest, I didn’t think tickets would remain unsold even at the last minute. Although there was a string of negative press coverage following Danjuro’s multiple relationships in March of this year and the Maya Kobayashi (43) fiasco, it has not had much of an impact on patrons and those with discerning taste in Kabuki. The first-class seats in the afternoon performance are frequented by many of these people, so the fact that there are empty seats there is a real shock.

Until now, it has been customary for a show to announce the successor to a given name to be “sold out immediately” after tickets are sold. In the past, it was customary for tickets to be sold out immediately after being put on sale. In particular, when it came to a major name such as Ichikawa Danjuro, there was a battle for the tickets, and it was very difficult for those involved just to distribute tickets to their patrons. However, ticket sales have plummeted in recent years due to the slump in Kabuki popularity, as well as the COVID-19 crisis. Shochiku and Danjuro, believing that even a “show to unveil the successor’s name” would be no exception, made the painful decision to shorten the three-month period during which the show would normally be held to two months.

Even so, tickets remained unsold. Danjuro then turned to his son, Kangen Horikoshi, 9.

Kangen, who succeeded Shinnosuke Ichikawa VIII, will play the lead role in “Kegai” in December as the youngest actor in the history of the company. The decision itself was pushed by Danjuro, and at first some of the leading figures were against the decision because of Danjuro’s attitude of not asking questions of those around him, but I hear that they are impressed by Kangen’s growth and his earnest and hardworking training. I think he contributed a lot to the final push,” said the proprietress of the Rien.

Nevertheless, the tickets ultimately failed to sell out, and a long-time supporter of the festival said, “There are two real reasons why the tickets did not sell out.

There are two real reasons why tickets didn’t sell,” said a long-time supporter of the event.

One is that Danjuro and Jitsunobu are both in the same boat.

One is that the relationship between Danjuro and his mother, Kimiko Horikoshi, has become irreparable, and Kimiko was not present at the October 31 “Kabuki-za Special Performance Commemorating the Assumption of the Name Danjuro Ichikawa XIII. It is a well-known fact that the two are almost completely insulated, but we never expected that she would not show up on the big day for her son and grandson…. That would mean that Kisiko’s patrons have not been approached either. After all, if her biggest benefactor is not cooperating, the impact will be quite large.

In June of this year, “Josei Jishin” reported that Ebizo’s decision to sell his family home had caused a rift between him and Kimiko, and that their relationship had deteriorated to the point where they did not speak to each other, resulting in a feud. Danjuro refuted the report, but the relationship between the two women has not only deteriorated, it has reached a point where it is beyond repair.

The other reason is that Danjuro’s art is not good enough to claim the title of “master of the art” in the eyes of his patrons. The media has written a lot about Danjuro’s love affair with women, but the main reason is simply that his artistic skills are not good enough. I went to see a special performance, and I did not see any growth in his technique. The patron next to me said, “I knew it was no good…,” and I said to him, “I can’t recommend him to others…. Such a lack of skill is communicated even to people who are not familiar with Kabuki. This has no doubt cast a shadow over ticket sales.

Even after the successful conclusion of the unveiling, the road of thorny problems is likely to continue.

  • PHOTO Shinji Hasuo

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