Kichiya KAMIMURA (the fifth) (上村吉彌 (5代目))

Kichiya KAMIMURA the fifth (December 13, 1909-January 1, 1992) was a Kabuki (traditional performing art) actor. His yago (stage family name) was Miyoshiya. Miyoshiya's Jomon (family crest) was a character "世" (literally meaning the world) surrounded by an octangular-shaped frame called oshiki (wooden tray with fold edges)-kata shape. His real name was Sunao TOSHIMA.

Having been an actor of Koshibai (plays performed in small theaters) at first, he later became a Kabuki actor with good skill in acting Oyama (female roles) and Kashagata (old female roles) inheriting the tradition from Kansai Kabuki.

Kichiya KAMIMURA the fifth was born in Kitsuki City, Oita Prefecture in 1909. He started to play in Kabuki programs presented in the area as a child actor when he was about three years old. In 1919, he appeared on the stage of Daihaku-gekijo theater in Fukuoka City with the stage name of Keinosuke NAKAMURA. After playing as an actor of Koshibai in various places, he became a disciple of Udanji ICHIKAWA (the second) in 1933 and changed his stage name to Usho ICHIKAWA. He had exclusively belonged to Shochiku Co., Ltd. since 1944 to become famous as a beautiful Oyama actor. Especially, he excelled in playing the role of Akoya, a role of "Dannoura kabuto gunki" (The War Chronicles at Dannoura) so much that the theater was filled with big crowds whenever he played the role. Therefore he became quite a popular actor to be called 'Akoya no Usho' (nobody can equal Usho as an actor playing Akoya).

In 1947, he announced in Kabuki-za Theater the succession to the professional name of 'Kichiya KAMIMURA' that had been abandoned since the Genroku era. Thereafter, he performed mainly in Kansai region. In "Shichinin no Kai" (a Kabuki study group created by seven Kamigata [Kyoto and Osaka area] actors) and "Nizaemon Kabuki"(Kabuki launched by a Kabuki actor Nizaemon KATAOKA the 13th), he played important roles supporting leading players. He mainly played the roles of elderly women after the role of a mother Ogin, a role of "Horikawa Nami no Tsuzumi" (a Kabuki program based on Joruri [dramatic narrative chanted to a samisen accompaniment]), which was presented at Kyoto Minamiza Theater in 1974 by starring Nizaemon KATAOKA (the thirteenth). He was widely admired for his performance with elegance and astringency. Especially, the role of Okaya of "Kanadehon Chushingura" (a Kabuki program) and that of an old mother Otoku of "Sesshu Gappogatsuji" (a Kabuki program based on Joruri) were most successful parts played by him in the course of his lifetime.

In 1989, Kichiya was commended for his distinguished merits in Kabuki by Geidankyo (Japan Council Meeting for Performers' Groups engaged in Public Entertainment). In the same year, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays. A Kichiya KAMIMURA welcome-home party was held in Kitsuki City.
Thereafter, with his unrivaled performance being highly appreciated in the Kabuki world, which has been suffering from a deficiency of excellent supporting players, he continued appearing on the stage
He died of lung cancer in Kyoto at the age of 82.

[Original Japanese]