Ichikawa Eno, a Kabuki actor who combined traditional elements with modern theater technology, has died of arrhythmia in Tokyo, Shochiku Co. said. He was 83.
The founder of “Super Kabuki” gained popularity for staging spectacular epics that included “flying” by rope over audiences more than 5,000 times, for which he earned a Guinness World Record.
The Tokyo native, whose real name was Masahiko Kinoshi, died on Wednesday, according to Shochiku, the operator of Kabuki theaters in Japan.
He was diagnosed with brain infarction in 2003. He briefly returned to the stage after becoming the second-generation holder of the stage name Ichikawa Eno in 2012, and performed with his son, actor Teruyuki Kagawa, who made his debut as Kabuki performer Ichikawa Chusha.
Eno had developed Super Kabuki since 1986, when he was Ichikawa Ennosuke III. Among his famous productions, “Yamato Takeru” and “Oguri” featured modern dialogue and music, as well as sound effects and elaborate costumes. He also worked on performances overseas.
His death comes at a hard time for the Kabuki world.
Eno’s nephew and popular Kabuki actor, Ichikawa Ennosuke IV, was indicted in July for allegedly helping his parents to commit suicide with sleeping drugs. Investigators suspect the family had made a suicide pact.
The father of Ennosuke IV appeared on the Kabuki stage as Ichikawa Danshiro.