The name Ichikawa Danjuro is perhaps the most famous name on the kabuki stage, renowned for a dynamic acting style and iconic roles for more than three centuries. On October 31st, the name reached its thirteenth generation as Ichikawa Ebizo XI (né Horikoshi Takatoshi) succeeded to the name Ichikawa Danjuro XIII. He gave his first performance under his new name in the role of Musashibo Benkei in the play Kanjincho at the Kabuki-za Theater in Tokyo. Though officially announced in May 2020, the succession was postponed due to Covid-19 safety measures. Danjuro XIII succeeds his father, Ichikawa Danjuro XII, who died in 2013. At the same ceremony, the actor’s son Horikoshi Kangen made his kabuki debut under the name Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII.
A kabuki actor’s succession to a new name is an honor, one that marks a new chapter in that individual’s career and declares their commitment to the spirit and style of a particular lineage. Following the shumei, the official name change ceremony, the actor will perform roles significant to that lineage. Ichikawa Danjuro XIII is celebrated for his mastery of tachiyaku, or male roles, with particular strength in aragoto roles, a specialty of the Danjuro line. Meaning “rough stuff,” aragoto roles are marked by a dynamic and exaggerated acting style. Succession performances will be held at the Kabuki-za through November and December, before touring beyond Tokyo through 2024.
In celebration of Ichikawa Danjuro XIII, Ronin Gallery invites you to explore past generations of this prestigious stage name. From the 18th-century actors of the Katsukawa school to Kokei’s contemporary kabuki portraiture, this collection captures the spirit of the Danjuro line. You can explore this collection here.