One of Japan’s best-known kabuki actors was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of assisting his mother’s suicide, police said, after both parents were found unconscious at his home last month. Last month, Ennosuke Ichikawa “allegedly made a 75-year-old woman take sleep-inducing pills at his home and die of psychoactive drug addiction, thereby assisting in her suicide,” Tokyo police told AFP.
The 47-year-old is a star of the classical form of theatre and has performed in London, Amsterdam and at the Paris Opera House. In May, rescue workers found Ichikawa’s 76-year-old father—also a kabuki actor—and his 75-year-old mother unconscious at his home in the capital. Both were later confirmed dead, and police are also investigating his father’s death, media reports said. Ichikawa was on Tuesday quoted by Jiji Press as telling investigators that he was “going to follow my parents and kill myself,” admitting to the charges.
He was discovered collapsed at his home on the day, and was taken to hospital where he was questioned. The suspect told officers that the family “discussed dying and being reborn” and that his parents had taken sleeping pills, according to NHK.
An apparent suicide note written by Ichikawa was also reportedly found inside his home. Ichikawa, whose real name is Takahiko Kinoshi, made his kabuki debut in 1980 and went on to become one of the country’s most renowned performers. He was once nominated for a Laurence Olivier award for dance performance, according to his website.—AFP