Sakata Tojuro (IV) (坂田藤十郎 (4代目))

Yodai-me (IV) Tojuro SAKATA (male, December 31, 1931 -) is a Japanese actor and kabuki actor. His yago (commonly, the name of a shop and, for a kabuki actor, the name of his stage family) is YAMASHIRO-ya ("ya" means a shop).
His family emblem is
His real name is Kotaro HAYASHI.

He was also famous by his former stage name, Ganjiro NAKAMURA III; he has established a reputation for skillful acting and the unique atmosphere he achieves when he acts as both a man and a woman, not to mention his acting in love scenes and his family's traditional acting. Tojuro SAKATA is also one of the top actors of the modern kabuki and also acts as one of the class-leading members of the renaissance project of Kansai-Kabuki (kabuki in the Kansai region); additionally, he has organized a theatrical troupe "Chikamatsu-za troupe" to revisit the works of Monzaemon CHIKAMATSU from their origin.

His acting as O-Hatsu (a polite form of the girl's name Hatsu) in "Sonezaki-shinju (a lovers' suicide in Sonezaki," a work by Chikamatsu created a sensation throughout Japan; he has played O-Hatsu more than 1,000 times and is continually elevating that record.

Chronological record

Tojuro SAKATA was born as the first son of Ganjiro NAKAMURA (II) on December 31, 1931.

In October 1941, he acted for the first time in his life as Kintoki in "Yaegiri-Kuruwa-Banashi," a story of Yaegiri working in a licensed quarters, at the Kado-za theater in Dotonbori when he succeeded to the stage name Senjaku NAKAMUA and became the second thereof.

In 1949, Tojuro SAKATA joined the Takechi kabuki led by Tetsuji TAKECHI, a movie director. He quickly established his ability, inspired by the encounter with his master.

In 1953, he played O-Hatsu in "Sonezaki-shinju," which was performed again for the first time after 250 years, and won the highest praise for his acting. This gave rise to a Senjaku boom.

In February 1955, he left Shochiku, a movie company that solely supported the Japanese kabuki art, and joined Takarazuka Eiga Co., Ltd. (Takarazuka is the name of Japan's only girls' opera troupe, and "eiga" means "movies"), which was a dummy operation of the Toho movie company, as this company's actor under an exclusive contract.

In January 1957, he joined Toho as an actor under an exclusive contract, and that time he met Chikage OGI, who was one of the top stars of Takarazuka.

In October 1958, he married with Chikage OGI.

In March 1963, he returned to Shochiku and restarted his activity as a kabuki actor.

In 1981, he founded the Chikamatsu-za theatrical troupe.

In November 1991, he succeeded to the stage name Ganjiro NAKAMURA and became the third thereof when he played Izaemon of "Kuruwa-bunsho, Yoshida-ya (stories in an entertainment house called Yoshida-ya in a licensed quarter), and Jihei in "Shinju-Ama-no-Tsunashima, Kawasho."

In 1994, he was recognized as a person who holds an important intangible cultural asset (a living national treasure). He also became a member of the Japan Art Academy.

In 2001, he performed "Sonezaki-shinju" in Great Britain.

In April 2005, he performed "Sonezaki-shinju" and "Boshibari" in Korea (Seoul and Pusan).

In November 2005, he succeeded to the stage name, Tojuro SAKATA and became the fourth thereof, which is a great stage name in Kamigata-kabuki (the kabuki society in the Kansai region) when he played Yaegaki-hime, the princess of Jusshu-ko (10 kinds of incense), O-Hatsu of Sonezaki-shinju and Izaemon of Yuen-no-Tsuki in the all-actor show-up performance at the Minami-za theater in Kyoto (however, he didn't refer to himself as 'the fourth' in the New Year's performance at the Kabuki-za theater in 2006 but said the stage name was the one he had revived after its 231-year absence).

In August 2007, he gave a kabuki-style speech at the opening ceremony of the IAAF World Championship of Athletics.

History of honors

1953: Mainichi Theatrical Award
1980: The Education Minister's Prize of Selected Art
1985: Japan Art Academy Prize
1990: The Medal with Purple Ribbon
1994: Recognized as a person who holds an important intangible cultural asset (a living national treasure)
1996: Best Actor Prize of the Yomiuri Theatrical Grand Awards
2008: Praemium Imperiale: Stage Play and Video Image Category

Vice President of the Japan Association of Actors and Actresses
Managing Director of the Traditional Kabuki Preservation Association
Leader of the Chikamatsu-za theatrical troupe
Member of the Japan Art Academy

Personality and episodes
The Senjaku boom
When his stage name was Senjaku, he enjoyed huge popularity, especially when his performance of O-Hatsu was a big hit; his popularity was so great that everyone in the Kansai Region knew him. Various companies even changed their names and trademarks to those that were related to Senjaku (this name is written in two Chinese characters meaning a Japanese folding fan and a sparrow, respectively) with Senjaku's permission. One of those companies was Senjaku Ame Honpo (Senjaku Candy Co., Ltd.).

Relationships with Women
Since around 1960, Tojuro SAKATA often experienced problems associated with his seeing women outside the home, and those problems were often sensationalized as scandals by weekly magazines. It is said that, in a car in which he and his wife, Chikage OGI rode during their honeymoon, he unashamedly disclosed to his wife (under the influence of liquor) the history of all of his relations with women, and proudly told the newly married woman how he had dealt with those women, etc. Relating the above, he confessed in a column "Watashi no rirekisho" (my résumé) in the Nihon Keizai Shinbun newspaper that this marriage of his with Ogi was also a shotgun wedding. Some people say the marriage was the origin of the shotgun weddings of entertainment celebrities.

It is also said that, before marrying Ogi, he was in love with a geisha in Kyoto and that, when the geisha came to see his stage work, he performed using a Japanese folding fan that carried the emblem of his stage family name, Narikoma-ya (in those days) on its front side and the emblem used by the geisha on its back side.

Exposing Incident
In 2002, when his stage name was Ganjiro, it was scooped by a weekly photo magazine that, when he secretly saw an apprentice geisha (later on, a geisha) of Kyoto at a hotel, he opened his bathrobe and exposed himself. He was made fun of as 'Gown-jiro NAKAMURA" based on his appearance wearing a gown (bathrobe) at that time.

He was criticized by those who did not know of all his previous deeds, who said, 'It's surprising... even a living national treasure is but a performer... I was really surprised...'; however, even in such a situation his wife, Ogi, made an introductory remark, saying, 'It's because he is just a performer...' and commented by saying, 'He always needs ladies (including those not young) in order to live,' and, 'If he isn't popular among ladies, I won't be interested in him'; thus she showed her generosity with such a statement befitting a goddess among wives of performers.

However, at a press conference, when entertainment-field reporters admired him, saying, 'You are very active,' he replied by saying, 'Thank you for proving that I am active, ha, ha,' whereupon he laughed energetically and made a comment that showed his still remarkable reserve of power, saying, 'Do not get old... I would like all Japanese men to be active.'

Family members

He has a younger sister, Tamao NAKAMURA; a wife who was an ex-star actress of Takarazuka and an ex-president of the House of Councilors; the first son, who is Ganjaku NAKAMURA (V); and the second son, who is Senjaku NAKAMURA (III).

[Original Japanese]