afar highlights


A Look Inside the World of Kabuki with @ebizoichikawa.ebizoichikawa

To see more of Ebizo’s Kabuki photos and videos, follow @ebizoichikawa.ebizoichikawa on Instagram. For an in-depth look into Ebizo’s ongoing performance, tune in next week to @instagramjapan.

(This interview was conducted in Japanese.)

Being a samurai, a princess, a red-horned demon, a husband and a father all in a day is the typical life of 37-year-old Japanese Kabuki actor Takatoshi Horikoshi, who succeeds the stage name Ebizo Ichikawa XI (@ebizoichikawa.ebizoichikawa) from one of the most prestigious houses of Kabuki actors in Japan. Between his time applying thick layers of stage makeup and the playtime with his two children, Ebizo is always looking for ways to open up the centuries-old Japanese performing arts to the global community. “I want people around the world to see my Kabuki photos,” he says. “I’m hoping to show more details of my work through videos, too.”

By sharing images of the characters he acts, and the selfies taken moments before or after his daily performances, Ebizo aims to convey the true essence of Kabuki. “I want people to notice the colors,” he points out. “The basic Kabuki makeup consists of white, red and black, which are very vivid and beautiful, even when seen from afar.” He also highlights the exquisite makeup techniques, the traditional costumes and the overall aesthetics iconic of Japan. “I want people to know that these are a part of the Japanese make-up culture.”

Ebizo admits that it’s not always easy to connect with an international audience, especially given the language barriers. However, he believes that the more images he can share from his daily life, the more he can educate. “I sometimes hear stories of renowned talents from other countries gaining their inspiration from Japanese culture,” says Ebizo. “Many of those things have their roots in Kabuki, and I want to tell the world more about it.”