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.

Last week, the 35-year-old actor walked into a Tokyo hotel for an interview with The Japan Times — the day after he had wrapped up a consecutive 25-day run of shows performed twice daily to packed audiences at the Kabukiza theater in Tokyo. Predictably, he was tense and energetic, still likely experiencing the rush of adrenaline from a grueling, high-pressure stint at kabuki's so-called mecca. He also exuded an air of brashness, a trait that has contributed to him being such a fixture in the media.