Ichikawa Danjuro’s “Sukumei Koshow” Reveals Similarities with Takanohana, who Left the World of Sumo. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ichikawa Danjuro’s “Sukumei Koshow” Reveals Similarities with Takanohana, who Left the World of Sumo.

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Danjuro Ichikawa and Shinnosuke Ichikawa’s Succession Performance opened at the Kabuki-za Theater in Tokyo on November 7.

The Danjuro Ichikawa succession show opened at the Kabuki-za Theater in Tokyo on November 7. Although it is a matter of course for a major daimyo’s successor to be immediately “sold out,” ticket sales were not good.

Danjuro” is one of the top names in the Kabuki world. And since the name was being assumed by Ebizo and his son, Kangen, both of whom are extremely well known, ticket sales were naturally expected to be high.

However, when they opened the door, they found that the sales were too poor. The situation was so serious that Shochiku had to launch a TV commercial in a hurry.

It is true that the new coronavirus has had a serious impact not only on the Kabuki world but also on the entertainment industry. However, the late Kanzaburo Nakamura’s succession show at the Kabuki-za Theater in ’05, which ran for three consecutive months, sold out on the same day.

“Initially,” he said, “there were plans for a three-month consecutive succession performance at the Kabuki-za in ’20, to coincide with the Tokyo Olympics. That is how high Shochiku’s expectations were for the show, but it was postponed indefinitely due to Corona.”

In the meantime, revelations about Danjuro’s late wife, Maya, Mao’s sister, and his own female problems erupted. The image of Danjuro as a handsome man who cherished his late wife and devoted himself to raising his remaining children has been destroyed at a stroke.

However, it seems that the COVID-19 crisis and the scandal are not the only reasons for the poor sales.

The biggest problem is that the fans, who are supposed to have inherited the tickets from their father’s generation, are not actively buying tickets. Some of them have even quit supporting the show.

When it comes to a succession show, it is normal for patrons to buy many tickets along with congratulatory gifts. If it is Danjuro’s Naritaya, he has patrons all over the country, and the seats should fill up quickly for a two-month performance.

The old saying goes, “Kabuki makes money from succession and Takarazuka makes money from retirement,” so it was bound to be a booming story. For that reason, the Kabuki world must be very sad to hear about it.

It is said that Danjuro himself was the one who rushed the show. However, the fact that there was so little time between the announcement and the first day of the show means that he neglected to greet his patrons.

However, Danjuro seemed to be overconfident in his own popularity. It is not often heard that he actively met with people in the supporters’ association.

Some say that Danjuro’s image overlaps with that of Takanohana, the “Great Yokozuna of the Heisei era.” It is true that kabuki and sumo have similarities in terms of respect for tradition.

“In sumo, the tanimachi, who are the patrons of kabuki, support the stable financially. However, despite his outstanding popularity, Takanohana did not take good care of his tanimachi. In the end, despite the fact that he had produced talented apprentices, the management of the stable became untenable, and he eventually had to fold the stable and leave the sumo world. When I look at Danjuro’s separation from his patrons this time, I see a dub of it.” (Sports newspaper reporter)

The two men are similar in their efforts to reform the Kabuki and sumo worlds. Because of this, they also have in common the fact that there is a lot of opposition from those around them.

The name “Ebizo,” like that of Takanohana, is extremely well known. But how does Danjuro feel about the fact that he could not sell enough tickets on his own?

  • PHOTO Shinji Hasuo

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