Matsumoto Koshiro VII
- Born: 1870/5/12
- Died: 1949/1/27
- Japanese: 七代目松本幸四郎 (nana daime Matsumoto Koushirou)
Matsumoto Kôshirô VII was one of the leading Kabuki actors of the first half of the 20th century. The leading tachiyaku (male lead hero role) actor of his time, he passed on the lessons of his master Ichikawa Danjûrô IX, the greatest tachiyaku of the Meiji period, to his sons and grandsons, the most celebrated actors of the latter half of the 20th century.
He was the grandfather of the late Ichikawa Danjûrô XII (d. Feb 2013), and great-grandfather of Ichikawa Ebizô XI, one of the most prominent leading kabuki actors today.
Like most kabuki actors, Kôshirô had a number of names over the course of his career. He was born Fujima Kintarô, and later took on a series of stage names. He was the seventh to be called Matsumoto Kôshirô. His yagô was Kôraiya. Other stage names he bore included Ichikawa Komazô VIII, Ichikawa Somegorô IV, and Ichikawa Kintarô. As head of the Fujima school of Nihon buyô (dance), he was known as Fujima Kan'emon III. He was also known by the poetry names Shikô and Kinshô.
Matsumoto Kôshirô VII was born the son of Fujima Kan'emon II, head of the Fujima school of Nihon buyô (Japanese dance, based on kabuki). As such, he was not a direct blood descendant of any of the great kabuki lineages.
However, adopted into the Ichikawa family lineage, Kôshirô's sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons include some of the greatest actors of the 20th-21st centuries. His sons included Ichikawa Danjûrô XI, Matsumoto Kôshirô VIII, and Onoe Shôroku II, and one of his daughters married Nakamura Jakuemon IV.
His grandsons include Ichikawa Danjûrô XII, Matsumoto Kôshirô IX, Onoe Tatsunosuke I, Nakamura Kichiemon II, Nakamura Shibajaku VII, and Ôtani Tomoemon VIII, whose sons in turn include Ichikawa Ebizô XI, Ichikawa Somegorô VII, Onoe Shôroku IV, Ôtani Hirotarô III, and Ôtani Hiromatsu II. The young actors Matsumoto Kintarô IV and Onoe Sakon III are among his great-great-grandsons.
Life and Career
Kôshirô made his stage debut in April 1881, at the age of 11, playing the role of Koshirô in Moritsuna jin'ya at the Haruki-za in Tokyo. He took on the name Ichikawa Somegorô IV at the Shintomi-za in 1890, and took part in the opening ceremonies for the Meiji-za three years later.
He then took on the name Ichikawa Komazô VIII at the Kabuki-za in 1903, a few months before his master Ichikawa Danjûrô IX, one of the most celebrated actors of the Meiji period, died.
In 1911, he took part in the opening ceremonies of the Imperial Theater, and later that same year took the illustrious name Matsumoto Kôshirô, which had not been held by anyone in kabuki since 1846. He then succeeded his father as head of the Fujima school of dance in 1917, taking on the name Fujima Kan'emon III (while remaining Matsumoto Kôshirô VII on the kabuki stage).
From that time, up through the 1940s, Kôshirô performed regularly at the Kabuki-za, as well as the Minami-za in Kyoto, and the Osaka Kabuki-za, in some of the most celebrated lead roles, including those of Benkei in Kanjinchô, Kumagai Naozane in Ichinotani Futaba Gunki, Ikkyû in Sukeroku, Nikki Danjô in Meiboku Sendai Hagi, and Soga Gorô in Ya no ne.
He appeared on stage for the final time in a performance at the Shinbashi Enbujô in December 1948, and passed away the following month.
- "Matsumoto Kôshirô VII," Kabuki21.com.