The Journal of Japanese Studies



The Female Danjūrō:
Revisiting the Acting Career of Ichikawa Kumehachi

Ichikawa Kumehachi (1846?–1913) is best remembered in the history of Japanese theater as the first female disciple of the renowned kabuki actor and head of the Naritaya house, Ichikawa Danjūrō IX. This article reconsiders the complex relationship of these two important actors, arguing that Kumehachi’s career cannot be reduced simply to her association with Danjūrō. Although she received intangible benefits from this prestigious connection, her career was largely independent of his. Ultimately, she was typecast as an "old-school" kabuki actress and viewed as the "female Danjūrō," which precluded her from making her reputation in the emerging "new-school" genres.

Volume 34, Number 1 (Winter 2008)
© 2008 Society for Japanese Studies


Marie Anchordoguy and Kevin M. Doak, Coeditors     Martha L. Walsh, Managing Editor
The Journal of Japanese Studies
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