10-year-old becomes first official dual-national kabuki actor

10-year-old becomes first official dual-national kabuki actor

10-year-old becomes first official dual-national kabuki actor

A 10-year-old French-Japanese boy will become the first officially recognized dual-national kabuki actor, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, a star of the traditional art form.

Maholo Terajima has performed kabuki - a type of Japanese theatre that dates back to the 17th century - several times on stage since he was four.

But his May performance at Tokyo’s Kabuki-za theatre will be his formal debut under the stage name Onoe Maholo.

“I’ve always loved kabuki, since I was little,” he said in French and Japanese at a press conference, adding that he hopes to one day perform in France.

“I’ll practice hard so that our audience will enjoy the show,” said Terajima, who wore a black kimono and grey hakama trousers for Tuesday’s event at the French embassy.

Kabuki shows are all-male affairs combining dance, drama and music, with men playing female roles.

The actors, scions of families of kabuki performers who usually begin training in childhood, don ornate costumes, wigs and heavy makeup for performances on elaborate sets.

Terajima’s mother is actress Shinobu Terajima, the daughter of kabuki star Onoe Kikugoro VII, who was awarded “national treasure” status from the government for his work. His father is a French art director.

It is the first time a dual national has officially become a kabuki actor, although Ichimura Uzaemon who was adopted into a kabuki family in 1878 is said to have had a French-American father.