All the performances scheduled for next year’s new Demon Slayer Kabuki play have been called off. It is said that these cancellations occurred because of “various circumstances.” It was worded to indicate that the play as a whole has been postponed, not cancelled, though no new dates have been released. While the explanation was vague, the reasoning behind the cancellations most likely has to do with Ichikawa Ennosuke — who was going to be the general director and an actor in the play — being indicted for the deaths of his parents.
Ennosuke, who is a famous Kabuki actor in Japan (and one who has appeared in otaku-related Kabuki before, like the One Piece Kabuki) was accused by a Japanese magazine of sexually abusing and bullying people in the theater world. After Ennosuke learned about this exposé of his alleged behavior, it appears he and his parents agreed to all kill themselves in a suicide pact. According to police, Ennosuke supplied the three of them with his own prescription pills to do the deed. Ennosuke did tell police, “A weekly magazine report prompted us to hold a family meeting, and we decided to say goodbye.”
Both of his parents died, but Ennosuke was found alive and hospitalized. First he was arrested for allegedly assisting in his mother’s death, then more recently he was arrested for allegedly assisting in his father’s death. His father was also a famous Kabuki actor in Japan.
Demon Slayer is one of the most successful manga and anime franchises out there, so it’s not surprising there is interest in making a play of it. VIZ Media publishes the original Demon Slayer manga and gave this description for the first volume:
Learning to destroy demons won’t be easy, and Tanjiro barely knows where to start. The surprise appearance of another boy named Giyu, who seems to know what’s going on, might provide some answers—but only if Tanjiro can stop Giyu from killing his sister first.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please know that there is help available. In America, you can call 1-800-273-8255. In Canada, you can call 1-833-456-4566. In Japan, you can call 03-5774-0992. For other countries, numbers and resources are available on this site.
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.