Ichikawa Utaemon

Ono Seiko and Aaron Gerow onogerow
Thu Sep 16 19:22:13 EDT 1999

The papers reported that Ichikawa Utaemon, the last survivor of the great 
jidaigeki stars of the silent era, died yesterday at the age of 92.  A 
kabuki actor, Utaemon started in film--as many of the great silent 
jidaigeki stars did--at Makino in 1925, before he went independent in 
1927.  While other star companies soon folded after a couple films, 
Ichikawa Utaemon Productions lasted until 1936 on the strength of the 
"Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" series (begun in 1929).  That became Utaemon's 
most famous role, which he continued until well after the war.  He 
starred in the 31 films of that series until 1963, the longest series in 
Japanese film history until Tora-san came along.

A fairly good businessman, Utaemon was on the board of directors of Toei 
whan it was founded in 1951.  He appeared in over 350 films until he 
retired from the screen in 1964.  His second son is Kitaoji Kinya, best 
known abroad for his starring role in Yanagimachi Mitsuo's _Himatsuri_.

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
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