TOKYO Dec 5 One of Japan's top kabuki actors,
who worked hard to modernise the centuries-old theatre form and
performed around the world, died on Wednesday after a five-month
battle with cancer, Japanese media repored.
Kanzaburo Nakamura, 57, was born to a family of longstanding
performers in the ancient kabuki theatre - known for elaborate
make-up, extravangant costumes and all-male casts - and began
performing at the age of three.
He sought to modernise kabuki, which dates back 400 years,
and to introduce Western audiences to the colourful art form
through packed performances in New York, Paris and Berlin.
"I love Kabuki and it's a good thing I love it. If I hadn't
loved it, I would have just gone mad, given the family I was
born to," he told Reuters in 2008 before a performance in
Diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in June, he underwent
surgery a month later but contracted pneumonia and was in and
out of hospital after that, with women's magazines following his
Born Noriaki Namino, he took the stage name of Kankuro
Nakamura at his first performance, and then officially inherited
the revered stage name Kanzaburo Nakamura in 2005, becoming the
18th person to bear it.
(Reporting by Olivier Fabre at Reuters Television; Editing by
Elaine Lies and Ron Popeski)