Kabuki Actor Nakamura Kichiemon Dies at 77

Society Culture

Tokyo, Dec. 1 (Jiji Press)--Japanese kabuki actor Nakamura Kichiemon, a living national treasure widely known for his starring role in the television samurai drama series "Onihei Hankacho," died of heart failure at a hospital in Tokyo on Sunday. He was 77.

Kichiemon, whose real name was Tatsujiro Namino, was born in 1944 as the second son of kabuki actor Matsumoto Koshiro VIII. He was adopted, however, by the first-generation Nakamura Kichiemon, his grandfather of the maternal lineage, who did not have a successor.

When he was four, Kichiemon made his stage debut under the name of Nakamura Mannosuke. He assumed the name Nakamura Kichiemon II in 1966.

Kichiemon excelled in the art of lines, and his performances in "tachiyaku" male roles, delving deeply into the emotions of the character, made him a hit in such roles as Naozane Kumagai in "Kumagai Jinya," Sozu Shunkan in "Shunkan," Yuranosuke Oboshi in "Kanadehon Chushingura" and Benkei in "Kanjincho."

He also wrote kabuki scripts under the pen name of Matsu Kanshi. From 2006, he devoted efforts to the kabuki event Shuzansai, where young actors play hit roles performed by his adopted father.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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