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Best Kabuki Actors Through the Ages Who Foreigners Choose

Kabuki has been one of the most well-preserved forms of art in Japan. Originating in 1603, kabuki is a traditional Japanese dance-drama widely known for its elaborate make-up and distinct stylization of its plot. While most fans of this form of theater go watch kabuki for its unique take on drama, many fans tend to come to the show to watch their favorite kabuki actors regardless of their roles.

Most of the kabuki actors come from an acting family. Each family has distinctive styles which allow them to stand out from others. It is also worth noting that the kabuki families have been passing down these techniques and approaches for generations.

Even though there have been a lot of actors that have played in a kabuki before, there are those prominent ones who have been favored by many, yet foreigners. On this article, we are going take a look at some kabuki actors through the ages that have foreigners choose.

1. Ichikawa Ebizō XI (Takatoshi Horikoshi)

Ichikawa Ebizō XI (Takatoshi Horikoshi)

Ichikawa Ebizō XI (Takatoshi Horikoshi) 2

Ichikawa Ebizō XI, born Takatoshi Horikoshi, is a professional kabuki actor. He is the current holder of the Ebizō name and the heir to the Ichikawa clan of kabuki actors. His career began in a 1983 play called Genji Monogatari. He was six years old back then. Since then, he has continued in various kabuki shows. Throughout his career, he has also starred in multiple television and film shows.

2. Nakamura Shidō II (Mikihiro Ogawa)

Nakamura Shidō II (Mikihiro Ogawa)

Nakamura Shidō II (Mikihiro Ogawa) 2

Nakamura Shidō II is the professional name of Mikihiro Ogawa. He took his name after the retirement of his father, Nakamura Shidō I, who was also a kabuki actor. He began his career in the industry at the age of eight. He had since continued acting on the stage. In 2002, he debuted on the big screen with the film Ping Pong. Since then, he has played in various film and television shows.

3. Nakamura Kankurō VI (Masayuki Namino)

Nakamura Kankurō VI (Masayuki Namino)

 Nakamura Kankurō VI (Masayuki Namino) 2

Nakamura Kankurō VI is the stage name of Kabuki actor Masayuki Namino. He is the eldest son of Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII, a famous kabuki actor during his prime. He first appeared on stage at the age of two. At the age of six, he formally received his name when he played the title characters in “Kadon de futari Momotarō.” Aside from being a Kabuki actor, he also appears in some film and television shows.

4. Ichikawa Danjūrō VII

Ichikawa Danjūrō VII

Ichikawa Danjūrō VII 2

Ichikawa Danjūrō VII was one of the most famous kabuki actors in the 19th century. He is renowned for specializing in male hero roles. Moreover, he was also responsible for establishing the Kabuki Jūhachiban, a collection of eighteen most significant plays in the repertoire. Born in 1791, Ichikawa Danjūrō VII he debuted onstage at the age of three. Since then, he has actively starred in various kabuki plays until his death on March 23, 1859.

5. Bandō Tamasaburō V (Shin’ichi Morita)

Bandō Tamasaburō V (Shin'ichi Morita)

 Bandō Tamasaburō V (Shin'ichi Morita) 2

Shin’ichi Morita, known professionally as Bandō Tamasaburō V, is a kabuki actor most renowned for being one of the best onnagata (an actor who specializes in female roles) in the industry. He first appeared on stage at the age of seven. Since then, he has devoted his life to the theater. He has also appeared in various films throughout the years.

The actors that were presented above are just some of the myriad of actors that have proven their talents and skills in theater. When you are visiting in Japan, be sure to check out and experience the thrill of watching stories come to life through excellent actors in kabuki.