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At the start of the performances at Tokyo’s Shimbashi Embujo Ichikawa theater in June this year, Kamejiro II (born Takahiko Kinoshi), 36, took the name Ichikawa Ennosuke IV, while his uncle Ichikawa Ennosuke III, famously known as the founder of “Super Kabuki,” took the name Ichikawa En’o II.

Like his predecessor, the new Ennosuke is no kabuki traditionalist. Trained as an onnagata (male actor who plays female roles), he surprised Japanese audiences five years ago with an outstanding performance as the 16th-century warlord Takeda Shingen in “Furin Kazan (Windy Forest and Fiery Mountain),” a year-long NHK TV drama based on a historical novel by Yasushi Inoue (1907-91).

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