When it comes to “face art” in TV dramas, everyone probably thinks of Teruyuki Kagawa (57) in the popular TBS drama series “Hanzawa Naoki.” He was joined by Ennosuke Ichikawa (47), who, like Kagawa, was popular for his “face art,” and his entertainment activities outside the Kabuki world were also going well. However, both men have disappeared from television completely after scandals broke out. The kabuki world and Shochiku, the promoter of kabuki, are troubled by this situation.
“Television used to be an important outlet for increasing the number of kabuki fans. The goal is to make viewers think, ‘I want to see that face on stage,’ and to get them to go to the theater. In this respect, the two actors made a great achievement. In fact, Kagawa’s return to the stage has certainly increased the number of viewers who come for Kagawa. However, looking to the future, the birth of a new star of the Kabuki world is an urgent task,” said a Shochiku insider.
The most anticipated new star is Matsuya Onoe II (38), according to a source close to Shochiku. Matsuya attracted attention when he played the role of Emperor Gotoba in last year’s NHK historical drama “Kamakuradono no 13-nin,” in which he played a brilliant villainous role.
In two Fuji TV dramas he appeared in last year, “Mystery and the Family,” he showed off his comical side to the hilt. Although not as acerbic as Kagawa and Ennosuke, he proved once again that he can perform a wide range of roles, from comedies to villain roles. His fan base is also broader than the two. There is no doubt that Shochiku will push him hard for TV.
(Sports newspaper reporter) “There are few obstacles in the way of Matsuya’s TV appearances, and the TV industry has welcomed him with open arms. One of the proprietresses of a pear orchard told us the reason for this as follows.
Matsuya’s father is Matsusuke Onoe VI, and his mother is Morie Kawai, 66, a former Shinpa actress. Unlike the Otowaya Soke, it is relatively easy for him to move freely.
Matsuya made his first stage appearance at the age of five, but his parents did not want him to become a kabuki actor but just because the chairman of Shochiku at the time had recommended it. Even when he began to appear on the stage, his parents checked with Matsuya himself each time to see if he wanted to continue acting. Matsuya himself stayed away from the Kabuki world for several years of his teenage years. However, when Matsuya was 20 years old, his father, Matsusuke, died prematurely at the age of 59. From that day on, Matsuya took on the responsibility of carrying on the family and the clan.
“He was a great actor,” said Kikuchi, “and his efforts from that point on were remarkable. He seemed to be devoting himself to his craft, auditioning for movies and TV dramas, and trying desperately to get into the industry,” said the proprietress.
Matsuya himself once said in an interview
My family is not what you would call a “good family” that has produced kabuki actors for generations. At the time, I was not in a position to be entrusted with major roles, and I was almost unknown outside the Kabuki world. I was aware of this, so I was very impatient. I was determined to do my best until I turned 30, and if I couldn’t make it by then, I would quit everything.
In terms of honing their craft, both Kagawa and Ennosuke must have put in an extraordinary amount of effort, but the most important thing for them to continue appearing on TV in the future is to make sure that they have not caused similar problems in the past. What is most important for her to continue appearing on TV in the future is whether he has had similar problems in the past and whether there are any concerns about that in the future.
When he was 28 years old and was just starting to make a name for himself, he was reported to have had a love affair with Atsuko Maeda, a former member of AKB48, and he told people around him that he had realized how scary it was to be successful. I think that’s when he tightened his belt once again. I think he at least has a girlfriend, but it is unlikely that he will do something like the two (Kagawa and Ennosuke). I think he is able to restrain himself well. After he becomes successful, he always says, ‘I will work hard for the Kabuki world. I think he will be fine.
On June 5, Matsuya attended a press conference to announce the production of a new kabuki play he is directing for the first time, “Touken Ranbu Tsukinotsurugi Enshinokirinoha” (Shinbashi Enbujo). This is the first kabuki adaptation of the popular game “Touken Ranbu ONLINE,” and Matsuya,
Matsuya said, “It’s been my dream to direct a production of ‘Sword Dance’ this time, and my wish has come true.”
He said, “I have never seen a classical kabuki performance like this before.
“Matsuya’s idea was to develop Kabuki fans,” said a source close to the project. It seems that the expectations placed on Matsuya are greater than we can imagine.
PHOTO： Shima Sota (1st to 5th), Kojiro Yamada