Kabuki star apologizes for drunken brawl


Kabuki star Ichikawa Ebizo, injured during a midnight brawl in a Tokyo bar late last month, apologized Tuesday for disappointing his fans and promised to keep away from alcohol.

Junichi Sakomoto, president of Shochiku Entertainment Co., said Ebizo will be suspended from performing indefinitely.

Ebizo, the son of famed kabuki actor Ichikawa Danjuro and a well-known television celebrity, spoke to the media for the first time at the Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa in Minato Ward since he was hospitalized after the incident.

“I would like to apologize to those who support me, those who love kabuki and all those involved for the trouble I have caused,” the 33-year-old star, speaking somberly and wearing a dark suit, told a news conference.

Apart from slightly red left eye, Ebizo appeared fine.

“I won’t feel like having a drink for a while,” Ebizo said.

He said his “arrogance” and “imprudent behavior” brought about the incident.

Ebizo, who in the early hours of Nov. 25 was apparently drinking heavily with friends in a bar in the Nishiazabu area, suffered serious facial injuries after reportedly being hit several times by a 26-year-old suspect.

He was forced to skip an annual yearend stage performance in Kyoto, and television commercials featuring the popular actor were pulled.

But Ebizo said Tuesday that he recalled being hit by several people, although he did not elaborate, saying the investigation is still ongoing.

Ebizo, whose real name is Takatoshi Horikoshi, said his doctors told him he fractured his left cheekbone and lost two front teeth, in addition to other injuries. He said the injuries will take two months to heal.

A total of 660 reporters, photographers and television crew packed the conference hall.

One reporter commented it was the largest news conference for a celebrity he had ever witnessed.

While the police say they have an arrest warrant for the suspect, he was yet to be apprehended.

Details on why the brawl erupted in the first place have remained a mystery. Ebizo said he was attacked when taking care of a drunken friend of the assailant.

But media have reported that according to employees of the venue and other sources, Ebizo was acting violently before the fight started and possibly initiated the tussle.

During the news conference, Ebizo said he had no previous encounters with the assailant or his friend.

Ebizo’s reputation has been further tarnished by revelations of reckless drinking sprees and because he was out drinking the same day he had canceled a news conference promoting a New Year’s show, citing health reasons.

The incident has attracted incessant media attention the past few weeks, complete with speculation that the suspect and his friends may have ties with the underworld.

Ebizo’s father, Danjuro, 64, has also apologized for the incident, saying his son has only himself to blame for his actions.