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Actor: Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII (八代目市川団十郎)

Alternate names:
Sanshō (poetry name)
Ichikawa Ebizō VI (六代目市川海老蔵)
Ichikawa Shinnosuke II (代目市川新之助)

Lifetime: 1823 - 1854

Related links: Kabuki21;

Biography:

This actor held this name from 3/1832 to 8/1854. His great-great-great-great grandfather was the founder of the line, Danjūrō I (1660-1704). His father was Danjūrō VII (1791-1859) who is represented 11 times in prints in the Lyon Collection.

"Like his father, Ichikawa Danjūrō VIII excelled in the aragoto ('rough-stuff') roles for which the Ichikawa lineage was famous. But as well as audacious young heroes, he was also extremely successful in the various roles of young lover (nimaime). Together with his good looks, this made him especially popular with female fans. When he played Sukeroku, in which he had to immerse himself in a barrel of water, the water was subsequently sold at exorbitant cost to avid admirers. Even when he had to appear as Yosaburô with a scarred face, pastry shops sold beanpaste buns with cracked outer skins called 'Yosaburō buns, which were devoured by the actor's fans. Despite his success, or even because of it, he was plagued by personal problems, perhaps exacerbated by his early achievements and the jealousy this caused among older actors. In 1854, during a tour of performances in Osaka with his father, he was found in his inn with his wrists slashed. He was suffering from massive debts, caused by his lifestyle, which emulated the excesses of his father."

Source: The Fitzwilliam Museum website.