Ennosuke Ichikawa’s “Tofu Mentality” is a Source of Concern for Shochiku, Who Wants to Bring Him Back to the Stage | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Ennosuke Ichikawa’s “Tofu Mentality” is a Source of Concern for Shochiku, Who Wants to Bring Him Back to the Stage

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Ennosuke Ichikawa’s suspended sentence has been confirmed. Is it just a matter of time before he returns to Kabuki? 

On November 21, it was announced that Ennosuke Ichikawa, who was accused of assisting a suicide by forcing his parents to take psychotropic drugs, has been sentenced to three years in prison with a five-year suspended sentence.


The legal community had expected that the execution would be suspended since the prosecution had asked for three years in prison at his first trial last month. The suspended sentence was said to be four or five years, which is what was thought.

At his first trial, he was asked about his occupation.

“I am a kabuki actor.”

He answered, 

“If I am allowed to do so, I would like to perform on the Kabuki stage. I want to make amends in kabuki.”

He also said in his first trial,

“If there is something only I can do, I would like to make it my hope in life.”

He also expressed his feelings about the power harassment and sexual harassment of Ennosuke.


The case was caused by the defendant’s “fear” of having his power harassment and sexual harassment reported in a women’s weekly magazine. After the verdict, Shochiku, the promoter of Kabuki, issued a lengthy comment.

“However, we will take time to discuss with Ennosuke how he should accept today’s verdict, and we will not turn our eyes away from the impact and responsibility this case has had on society as a whole, and we will listen to everyone’s opinions as we seek the way forward together.”

Through Shochiku, Mr. Ennosuke also said, 

“From now on, I will not hold it all together by myself, but will be aware of my own weaknesses, consult with those around me, and live one day at a time with the help of those around me, while doing my best.”

One person involved in the Kabuki industry commented that, with the suspended sentence, “Shochiku is now in a better position to deal with the defendant’s case.”


The Meijiza in May, when the incident occurred, was able to draw an audience thanks to the efforts of Ichikawa Danko. This was because people felt sympathy for Danko, who learned his lines in just one day.

However, since then, Kabukiza has been unable to draw an audience. After all, there are no “hana-gata” actors supporting kabuki today. That’s why it’s so important for Shochiku.

“We really want him to come back to the Kabuki theater as soon as possible, even if it’s just behind the scenes.”

Certainly, if Mr. Ennosuke were to direct a Super Kabuki production, he would fill the seats to capacity, just as Ennosuke III did. But, says a Shochiku insider,

“Mr. Ennosuke has a surprisingly small temperament. He has a ‘tofu mentality’. That’s what caused this incident.”

“He says he wants to return to Kabuki, but he denies the harassment and other problems and turns a blind eye to them, and it is said that discussions with Shochiku have not progressed. I doubt if he can mentally go back to where he was before the incident.”

Although he has been sentenced, his “life in the eye of the needle” will continue for the time being. Will Ennosuke ever be able to return? 


  • Text Toshio Ishikawa (entertainment reporter)

    Born in Tokyo in 1946. He has a unique career path from Shochiku's Advertising Department to a reporter for a women's magazine to an entertainment reporter. He has appeared on "The Wide" and "Information Live Miyaneya" (both on Nippon Television Network Corporation), and currently appears regularly on "Mentai Wide" (Fukuoka Broadcasting System), "Su Matan" (Yomiuri TV), and Rainbow Town FM.

  • PHOTO Ippei Hara

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