On May 1, the 26-year-old kabuki superstar Ichikawa Shinnosuke officially became Ichikawa Ebizo XI. The ceremonial succession was a monumental event because, for the first time since 1843, two generations of Ichikawas bearing the names Ebizo and Danjuro will play on the same stage at once.

Danjuro is Ebizo’s father, but he was once Ebizo himself, which, of course, means that Ebizo will take on the name Danjuro when his father dies. The Ichikawas are considered the trunk of the kabuki tree, with all other families, including the extremely popular Nakamura clan, being branches. Some kabuki enthusiasts even claim that the Ichikawas invented kabuki.

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