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Actor: Ichikawa Danjūrō IX (九代目市川 團十郞)

Alternate names:
Danju (poetry name)
Jukai II (poetry name - 壽海)
Sanshō (poetry name - 三升)
Shisen (poetry name - 紫扇)
Kawarazaki Chōjūrō III
Kawarazaki Gonjūrō I (初代河原崎権十郎)
Kawarazaki Gonnosuke VII
Kawarazaki Sanshō (河原崎三升)

Lifetime: 1830 - 1903

Related links: Kabuki21;

Biography:

Danjūrō IX was born in 1830 and died on September 13, 1903. He held this name from July 1874 til his death. His great-great-great-great-grandfather was Ichikawa Danjjūrō I (1660-1704).

Ichikawa Danjūrō IX belonged to the triumvirat of stars who dominated the Kabuki world during the Meiji era (the two others were Onoe Kikugorō V and Ichikawa Sadanji I). He spent lots of time and energy pioneering a new genre called katsureki but the Tōkyō audience was more receptive to his amazing performances in the great roles of Kabuki like Ōboshi Yuranosuke ("Kanadehon Chūshingura"), Kumagai Jirō Naozane ("Kumagai Jin'ya"), Sukeroku ("Sukeroku Yukari no Edo Zakura") or Benkei ("Kanjinchō").

"Ichikawa Danjûrô, the ninth, was the torch-bearer of Kabuki during the long reign of the Emperor Mutsuhito, known as the Meiji era, which endured for forty-five years ( 1868-1912). Danjûrô, the ninth, was the bridge that spanned the sudden gulf which yawned between the traditional past and the uncertain and changing modern world. He may be regarded as the saviour of Kabuki during a period when it might have suffered shipwreck, had there not been a man of genius at the helm to guide the craft through the troubled waters." (Zoë Kincaid in Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan)

En travaillant les profiles psychologiques et émotionnels de ses héros et en exigeant de ses auteurs (Kawatake Mokuami, Fukuchi Ôchi) un effort intense en terme de véracité historique, il crée un nouveau genre, le katsureki (abréviation de katsudô rekishi, « l'histoire vivante »). Le public ne suit pas et boude le

Katsureki, dont les pièces sont souvent terriblement ennuyeuses. Amer, Ichikawa Danjûrô IX déclare en 1893 : « les créations de ce genre [katsureki] me donnent un mal fou alors que les spectateurs n'y prennent aucun plaisir. Pourtant, lorsque je monte une pièce du vieux répertoire, je n'ai qu'à prendre une belle pose pour que, comblés, ils éclatent en applaudissements. Alors puisque c'est comme ça, les créations d'œuvres nouvelles, maintenant ça suffit, basta ! »

Source : Le Kabuki devant la modernité.