Utaemon Ichikawa Biography
Utaemon Ichikawa was a Japanese film actor famous for starring roles in Jidaigeki from the 1920s to the 1960s. Trained in kabuki from childhood, he made his film debut in 1925 at Makino Film Productions under Shōzō Makino. Quickly gaining popularity, he followed the example of Makino stars such as Tsumasaburō Bandō in starting his own independent production company, Utaemon Ichikawa Productions, in 1927.
It was there he first began the "Idle Vassal" (Hatamoto taikutsu otoko) series, which would become his signature role. When his company folded in 1936 as sound film came to the fore, he moved to Shinkō Kinema and then Daiei Studios before helping form the Toei Company after World War II. He served on the board of directors along with fellow samurai star Chiezō Kataoka.
Utaemon appeared in over 300 films during his career. His son, Kin'ya Kitaōji, is also a famous actor in film and television.