Media Mix, Dec. 12, 2010

Here’s this week’s Media Mix, which is about the Ichikawa Ebizo scandal. As often happens with such stories, the column was outdated the moment it was published. Two days previously, the police arrested the man who allegedly beat up Ebizo. He gave himself up and has already admitted to the charge, though he insists that the kabuki star initiated the brawl, if not with actual violence then with the promise of same and insultingly surly behavior. Also, Aera magazine confirmed something I hinted at in the column, that Ebizo’s injuries weren’t half as serious as they were made out to be when the scandal first came to light.

One of my analyses was also nullified the night before the column ran in the Japan Times. I implied that Takeshi seemed skittish about taking on Ebizo as fodder for his lowly brand of satire, but on last Saturday’s edition of “Newscaster” he did perform a short sketch in which he addressed the scandal, though, in keeping with his methodology, it didn’t make fun of Ebizo so much, but rather made fun of kabuki fans in general. Also, I think Takeshi was waiting for someone else to do it first. Matsuko Deluxe, the “big-scale” talent whose bitchy transvestite TV persona gives him license to be more irreverent than most conventional comedians, had been razzing Ebizo continually for the past week; or, more precisely, razzing the media’s obsession with Ebizo. And on that note, I’ll shut up.

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3 Responses to Media Mix, Dec. 12, 2010

  1. Miko says:

    The whole thing did seem rather overblown, but because I’d never actually heard of him before, I couldn’t decide whether it was a Tsuyoshi thing or an Asashoryu thing on the scale of scandalous behaviour. Interestingly enough, it may even be sparking a resurgence of interest in kabuki amongst the public. Several of my students said that they’ve put “watching a kabuki performance” on their New Year’s resolutions list. Ebizo may have done the kabuki world a big favour, for all we know.

    • philipbrasor says:

      It’s already been a boon for kabuki. Bando Tamasaburo announced the other day that he will take over the special performances in January that Ebizo had to cancel. All 18 shows sold out in 30 minutes, and at ticket prices higher than those for Ebizo.

      • Miko says:

        One of my private students is one of those delightfully dotty old widows who have more money than sense. She loves Tamasaburo, and follows him everywhere. I’ll bet you anything that she’s in the audience in January. It’s kind of weird for me to think of a 67-year-old lady having a crush on a man who dresses as a woman for a living (onna-gata) but that’s Japan for you.

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