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Actor: Matsumoto Kōshirō VII (七代目松本 幸四郎)

Alternate names:
Kinshō (poetry name)
Shikō (poetry name)
Ichikawa Kintarō (市川金太郎)
Ichikawa Komazō VIII (八代目市川高麗蔵)
Ichikawa Somegorō IV (四代目市川染五郎)

Lifetime: 1870 - 1949

Related links: Kabuki21;

Biography:

This actor held this name from November 1911 until his death in January 1949. His birth father was Fujima Kan'emon II, a Buyō dance master.

Kōshirō VII was born on the 12th day of the 5th lunar month of 1870 and died on January 27, 1949.

"Matsumoto Kōshirō VII was one of the leading tachiyaku from the end of the Meiji era to the end of the forties. Best disciple of Ichikawa Danjûrō IX, he transmitted his master's knowledge, traditions and acting methods to his three sons who became the best tachiyaku of the second half of the twentieth century.

Matsumoto Kōshirō VII's best roles: Benkei ("Kanjinchō"), Sekibei/Ôtomo no Kuronushi ("Tsumoru Koi Yuki no Seki no To"), Ômori Hikoshichi ("Ômori Hikoshichi"), Soga Gorō Tokimune ("Ya-no-Ne"), Watanabe Tsuna ("Ibaraki"), Watōnai ("Kokusen'ya Gassen"), Kamakura Gongorō Kagemasa ("Shibaraku"), Nikki Danjō ("Meiboku Sendai Hagi"), Takatoki ("Takatoki").

"Without doubt Kōshirō is the best-equipped yakusha in Japan. He is both a good actor and an accomplished dancer. Born in a provincial town, his father was a builder and contractor, and he might have missed his calling had not Fujima Kan'emon, the furitsuke, or dancing master of the Tōkyō stage, taken such an interest in the child that he adopted him as his heir and successor. Danjûrō, the ninth, saw that the boy was better fitted to become an actor than to be an exponent of dancing, and early took him under his protection. Of all Danjûrō's followers, Kōshirō is the best qualified to carry on the Ichikawa traditions. Unfortunately, Kōshirō was indiscreet in his youthful escapades, and so angered his master that he was expelled by Danjûrō from the theatre, and for a time it seemed that he might never return. When the Imperial was opened, Kōshirō became attached to this theatre, and was quickly reinstated in the favour of the public. Danjûrō's widow, however, never forgot the injunction of her husband that Kōshirō was not to succeed him, and while this actor is in every respect an Ichikawa, the great name of the tenth is still going begging. In the Ichikawa aragoto rōles Kōshirō is the best in Japan. Thoroughly trained in the Fujima school of dancing, he is a creative dancer, always producing new modes of expression. As a realistic actor he has few equals, and shows much cleverness in new plays. It is in making up, however, that he greatly excels, and can transform his countenance by means of strange, imaginative designs, or become a rogue, policeman, statesman, doctor, or lawyer in modern plays with surprising success." (Zoë Kincaid in Kabuki, the Popular Stage of Japan)