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Bloody Bar Punch Up Isn't Kabuki Theater

Illustration for article titled Bloody Bar Punch Up Isnt Kabuki Theater

One does not become a kabuki actor, it's a male-only birthright. There are kabuki dynasties, and only the oldest son can star in kabuki theater. One of Japan's most popular kabuki actors just got his face smashed in.


And it might cost him his career.

Ebizo Ichikawa XI, 32 years old, was born Horikoshi Takatoshi and began training for kabuki as a toddler. Following in the footsteps of his father, he took the stage name "Ebizo Ichikawa" in 2004. Kabuki is similar to royalty in that actors have a family lineage and stars not only represent the art of kabuki, but Japanese culture.


Besides kabuki, Ichikawa stars in green tea ads and appeared in his first television role as legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto in a NHK drama. Besides his impact on Japanese history and philosophy, Musashi Miyamoto is also a playable character in action game Sengoku Basara 2!

Illustration for article titled Bloody Bar Punch Up Isnt Kabuki Theater

Late last Wednesday, Ichikawa was out drinking at a gay bar with kabuki colleagues in Tokyo's Nishi-Azabu neighborhood, near Gonpachi (also the locale of Capcom's Tokyo Game Show event).


Towards the end of the evening, Ichikawa ended up at a member's-only karaoke bar. Apparently, Ichikawa said he was looking for a friend who got sick from drinking too much. The actor was then supposedly struck in the face by a man, who blamed Ichikawa for the friend getting ill.

"I was hit by a dark, foreign looking man," Ichikawa told police. Initially, it was thought that Ichikawa said that as the ubiquitous foreigner is often an excuse so that the press do not pursue the issue.


Today, it was revealed that a warrant was issued for the suspected attacker's arrest. The man, age 26, is apparently a member of a biker gang and a friend of the individual who got sick from drinking too much.

Illustration for article titled Bloody Bar Punch Up Isnt Kabuki Theater

Ichikawa was punched repeatedly in the face, losing a front tooth, and the actor was left with a broken cheekbone, a black eye as well as multiple bruises all over his body. His blood was found on the bar's walls and the staircase — from the 11th to the ground floor. According to reports, Ichikawa was continually attacked as he made his way down the staircase.

There are rumors circulating that Ichikawa was hammered the night of the attack and even bragging about his fame and bank account.


Ichikawa was treated at a hospital, and his wife contact the police the following day. The actor is undergoing facial reconstructive surgery and will take six weeks to recover. He canceled all foreseeable performances.

The fallout of from the scuffle could be more serious than missing a few performances. In kabuki, the face is of the utmost importance. Performing requires complex facial movements like nirami. There is a chance that even a full recovery might not mean a full recovery for kabuki and could cost Ichikawa his career. That is, unless he isn't already being pressured by his family to step down.

Illustration for article titled Bloody Bar Punch Up Isnt Kabuki Theater

Culture Smash is a daily dose of things topical, interesting and sometimes even awesome — game related and beyond.


More details revealed about Ebizo Ichikawa's assault and Arrest warrant obtained for man who beat up kabuki star Ebizo [Tokyograph and Japan Today] [PicPic, Pic, Pic, Pic, Pic]

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Ebizo is one of the biggest slimeballs I have ever seen.

While Ashcraft translated his statement as "I was hit by a foreign looking man"...what Ebizo actually said was "外国人風の色の黒い人"...which one could read, at least I can, as saying "I was hit by a black foreign looking guy" (or maybe just the color of his clothes??? kind of a vague statement).

I love it, he doesn't remember WHERE he was drinking, or exactly WHO he was drinking with, or HOW he got no no...too drunk to remember. BUT he DOES explicitly remember that it was "a foreign looking guy".

It wasn't mentioned in this article, but Ebizo had a press conference scheduled for that day, to discuss his acting jobs coming up in the new year....but canceled it at the last minute for "health concerns"...and then hours later all this happened. So not only does he have have the shame (something the Japanese media LOVES to dole out in spades) of this drinking fiasco, but also he got found out that he lied to the press.

Also, Japanese culture FYI: going out and drinking at a gay bar isn't a big deal AT ALL in Japan, and it factors zero percent into this whole scandal. The #3 at my company (a rather large international corporation) goes to them all the time, and gets a kick out of it...and is constantly trying to get me to come along. While equal rights amongst gay and lesbian Japanese citizens is way way way way behind America, going to a gay bar after work (my guess is that it was one of these "new-half bars", where rather than a typical hostess club, your "hostess" is a guy in drag), or transvestites appearing in full drag in entertainment is a storied Japanese tradition that goes back hundreds of years.