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Popular kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo to become 13th holder of Danjuro

This undated file photo shows Popular kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo and his 5-year-old son Kangen Horikoshi. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Popular kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizo, 41, will become Ichikawa Danjuro XIII in May 2020, Shochiku Co., producer of Kabuki performances and operator of Tokyo's famed Kabukiza theater, said Monday.

Danjuro is a stage name established in the latter part of the 17th century and taken on by kabuki actors of the Ichikawa family. It is considered the most prestigious of the kabuki stage names.

"Since this is a big name for kabuki, I will live fully for kabuki as long as my life lasts," Ebizo said at a press conference.

Name-succession celebrations, including a series of performances at Kabukiza that runs for three months, are being planned. The celebration period will coincide with the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Ebizo's father, Ichikawa Danjuro XII, died in 2013.

His 5-year-old son, Kangen Horikoshi, will become Ichikawa Shinnosuke VIII on the same occasion.

Ebizo first took the stage at age 5 and became Ichikawa Shinnosuke VII in 1985. In 2004, he became Ichikawa Ebizo XI.

In 2017, Ebizo lost his wife, Mao Kobayashi, a TV personality who drew wide attention after she began keeping a record of her battle with breast cancer on her blog.

Kobayashi was named in the 2016 edition of the BBC's 100 Women list of inspirational and influential female figures after she broke her silence about her struggle with cancer on her blog.

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