Content Warning: Discussion of suicide
Famous Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ennosuke has been sentenced in the deaths of his parents. The actor, who has appeared in a One Piece Kabuki play and was scheduled to direct and act in a Demon Slayer Kabuki play, had been accused of helpings his parents kill themselves in a suicide pact.
In May, a news outlet in Japan asserted that Ennosuke was a sexual abuser and bully toward people he worked with in the theater industry. When Ennosuke learned about this, he decided to kill himself. At first his parents tried to talk him out of it, but in the end, they all did a suicide pact together. Ennosuke supplied the medication they used to overdose. Both of his parents passed away, but Ennosuke was found alive, leading to his arrest and trial.
The Court found Ennosuke guilty, and sentenced him with a suspended sentence of five years, with a three year jail term. In other words, if he behaves for five years, he avoids the three year jail term. If not, he gets put behind bars.
The Tokyo District Court referred to his actions as “short-sighted” and said what he did “cannot be taken lightly.” However, they chose a suspended sentence because they say Ennosuke has been remorseful and he’s supposed to get help.
After the ruling was announced, Ennosuke said to the Court, “I feel unspeakably sinful for getting my father and mother involved and causing damage to many people, including in the Kabuki world, which is hard to recover from.”
Shochiku Co., a company that produces Ennosuke’s Kabuki plays, says it has not decided what, if anything, it will do with the actor moving forward. The Demon Slayer Kabuki play performances had been called off after Ennosuke’s arrest, leaving it up in the air. The company says it will consult with Ennosuke.
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.
Source: Kyodo News
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.