In the glitzy and gossipy world of Japanese celebrity, hardly a week goes by without revelations being made about — or made by — Ichikawa Ebizo XI.

For years, the charismatic young star of the kabuki world has never long been out of the media spotlight: a series of short-lived romances with big-name actresses; his 2010 marriage to newscaster Mao Kobayashi; a late-night bar fight the same year with Roppongi hoodlums (which left him with severe injuries to the head and face); the passing of his father, kabuki maestro Ichikawa Danjuro XII, in February of this year; and a month later the much-awaited birth of a baby boy, who, like Ebizo himself, is destined to join the 300-year-plus lineage of the prestigious Narita-ya kabuki performers’ guild.

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