Places, Images, Times & Transformations

Utaemon VI, Nakamura

(1917-2001). Japanese kabuki actor. Regarded as the preeminent performer of Japan's traditional kabuki theatre during his lifetime. Born into a family of kabuki actors, Utaemon VI made his theatrical debut in 1921. He specialized in onnagata (female) roles, considered the most demanding in the highly stylized art form. During his career he played more than 500 different roles. In the 1960s Utaemon VI toured the U.S., Europe, and the Soviet Union. He attempted to preserve the classical style, and to this end he encouraged novelist Mishima Yukio and others to write new kabuki plays in a style that conformed to traditional practices. He also helped revive old plays that were seldom performed. In 1968 the Japanese government designated Utaemon VI a Living National Treasure. (from "Utaemon VI, Nakamura." Britannica Book of the Year, 2002. Encyclopedia Britannica Premium Service. 4 Apr. 2006 ).

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