Baiko ONOE (The Seventh) (尾上梅幸 (7代目))

Baiko ONOE the Seventh (August 31, 1915 to March 24, 1995) was a kabuki actor. His stage family name was OTOWAYA. His Jomon (family crest) was double fans with a pair of oak leaves. His real name was Seizo TERASHIMA.

Biography and Personal Profile
He was born the third boy of Kin TERADA, who worked as geisha (Japanese professional female entertainer at drinking party) in Akasaka and later ran a fancy Japanese-style restaurant named 'Kanabayashi' (金林). It is said that his father was a businessman from Kyushu. One theory is that Kikugoro the Sixth was the real father both of Baiko and of Baiko's brother, Shin TOKUDAIJI. Soon after birth Baiko was adopted by Kikugoro ONOUE the Sixth, who had no children at that time, in accordance with the promise made before he was born. Later his foster father took a new wife and had one son and two daughters, but Baiko was still brought up just like a real son, so he did not know that he was an adopted child until he was over fifteen years old.

At an early age he started to inherit Kikugoro's entertainment system under Kikugoro's tutelage. He debuted in the name of Ushinosuke ONOE the Fourth in 1921, succeeded to the name of Kikunosuke ONOE the Third in 1935 and succeeded to the name of Baiko ONOUE the Seventh in 1948 at the strong request of Kikugoro's widow. He received the Ministry of Education Award for his performance as Chikara OISHI in "Kanadehon Chushingura" (The Treasury of Loyal Retainers) which was played as a show of announcing his succession to another stage name. He was individually designated as a holder of Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure) in 1968.

One of his children is Kikugoro ONOUE the Seventh. Shin TOKUDAIJI, an actor, is his real brother.

Style of performance
Baiko was one of the best actors of female roles in the Showa period, and as highly praised as Utaemon NAKAMURA the Sixth.

He gained a reputation for roles such as Okaru, Enya hangan and Oishi of "Kanadehon Chushingura," Shizuka Gozen of "Yoshitsune Senbonzakura" (Yoshitsune and One Thousand Cherry Trees), Omiwa of "Imoseyama (Mt. Imose) Onna Teikin" (An Exemplary Tale of Womanly Virtue), Omitsu of "Shinpan Utazaimon" (The Love of Osome and Hisamatsu) (Nozaki Village), Tamate-Gozen of "Sesshu Gappo ga Tsuji" (A Kabuki Drama of Unfettered Evil) (Gappo Anjitsu [hermitage of Gappo]), Sakuramaru of "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami" (Sugawara's secrets of calligraphy) and Yoshitsune of "Kanjincho" (The Subscription List) and "Jinya KUMAGAI, Ichi no Tani Futabagunki" (Chronicle of the Battle of Ichinotani) in the area of maruhonmono (Kabuki drama of joruri [puppet-play] origin). In the area of pure kabuki, he was very good at plays dealing with the lives of ordinary people, playing Bentenkozo of "Aoto Zoshi Hana no Nishikie" (The Story of Aoto and the Gorgeous Woodblock Print) or "Shiranami Gonin Otoko" (The Five Shiranami Men), Otomi of "Yohanasake Ukinano Yokogushi"or "Kirare Yosa" (Scarface Yosa), Ohama the wife of "Shinsarayashiki Tsuki no Amagasa" or "Sakanaya Sogoro," and, above all, Saemon of "Shin Usuyuki Monogatari" (The Tale of Usuyuki) or "Usuyuki," which he played with unmatched nobleness. He also gained a reputation for a great number of dances including "Musume Dojoji" (The maiden at Dojo-ji Temple), "Onatsu Kyoran" (Onatsu's Madness) and "Fuji Musume" (Wisteria Maiden).

[Original Japanese]