All About Japan

Unmasking the World of Kabuki

Kabuki Theater

Kabuki is well-known around the world as one of Japan’s most distinct forms of traditional theater. The elaborate costumes, dramatic makeup and stylized poses have been captivating audiences for more than four centuries, yet when it comes to finding out what goes on behind-the-scenes, very few people have been able to step behind the curtain.

One of today’s most popular kabuki stars, Ebizo Ichikawa XI, is keen to change the mystery behind the lifestyle of kabuki actors by letting the world share his dressing room, follow his daily routine, and even peek inside his family home.

37-year-old Ebizo is a bit of a rock star in the world of kabuki. While belongs to one of the most respected families in the performance industry, he made headlines after a drunken brawl left him with facial injuries in 2010.

Now he’s a happily married hands-on father to two young children, with a passion for connecting the global community to his classical art form. With photos like the ones above, he’s educating people around the world and humanizing kabuki for his followers.

Onstage, Ebizo displays great poise and prowess as Jayanagi from Snake Willow.

In the wings, he shares a more light-hearted selfie with his fans.

Seeing him dressed up and in character in the dressing room is a special treat for his followers.

Afterwards, it’s off to spend time with family. Being born into the prestigious Ichikawa family with a stage history of more than more than 400 years means Ebizo's son, Kangen, will also become a kabuki actor in the future.

In 2015, Ebizo worked with controversial filmmaker Takashi Miike to create Chikyu Nagegoro (Space Desperado) as part of a unique program called "Roppongi Kabuki."

Even when he’s back on the traditional kabuki stage, Ebizo shows his sense of humor behind-the-scenes.

You can even catch him out of makeup!

Who knew a kabuki star could have so many faces? If you’d like to find out more about this amazing actor and his fascinating art, be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

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