|SAWAMURA SÔJÛRÔ VIII|
Real name: Sawamura Toshio
Line number: HACHIDAIME (VIII)
Poetry name: Kôga
Blazon: the syllabic ideogram "i" in a circle [in Japanese: い]
Existence: 8 January 1908 ~ 25 December 1975
Father: Sawamura Sôjûrô VII
Adoptive father: Ichikawa Sadanji II
Brothers: Suketakaya Takasuke V, Sawamura Tanosuke V
Sons: Sawamura Sôjûrô IX, Sawamura Tôjûrô II
Disciples: Sawamura Kasen, Sawamura Kuniyo
January 1908: born in Tôkyô in the district of Asakusa.
November 1913: he appeared on stage for the first time, in Tôkyô at the Imperial Theater, where he received the name of Sawamura Genpei V and performed in "Onna Tenka" and "Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura" .
April 1926: Sawamura Genpei V took the name of Sawamura Tosshô IV at the Imperial Theater, playing the role of Taira no Atsumori in the drama "Ôgiya Kumagai".
November 1929: he was adopted by the star Ichikawa Sadanji II, who gave him the name of Ichikawa Shôen. Revival at the Kabukiza of the drama "Kan U" ; Shôen played the role of Kagekiyo's daughter Hitomaru [casting].
January 1933: Shôen played at the Shinjuku Shinkabukiza the role of Sodehagi in the drama "Ôshû Adachi-ga-Hara".
September 1935: Shôen played at the Kabukiza (Nagoya) the role of Okaru in the michiyuki "Ochiudo"; his stage partners in the roles of Hayano Kanpei and Bannai were Ichikawa Komazô IX and Suketakaya Takasuke V.
October 1936: dispute with Ichikawa Sadanji II; Ichikawa Shôen left the Ichikawa clan and took back his previous name of Sawamura Tosshô IV when he played at the Shinjuku Daiichi Gekijô the role of the menoto Asaoka in the drama "Jitsuroku Sendai Hagi".
May 1938: Tosshô played at the Kabukiza the role of Chiyo in the "Terakoya" scene of the classic "Sugawara Denju Tenarai Kagami"; his stage partners were Onoe Kikugorô VI (Genzô), Nakamura Kichiemon I (Matsuômaru) and Onoe Kikujirô IV (Tonami).
June 1942: revival at the Kabukiza of the drama "Kan U" ; Tosshô played the role of Kagekiyo's daughter Hitomaru [casting].
May 1947: revival at the Tôkyô Gekijô of the drama "Jayanagi" ; Tosshô played the role of Honda's sister Umegae [more details].
2 March 1949: his father Sawamura Sôjûrô VII died.
September 1953: Sawamura Tosshô IV and his son Sawamura Genpei VI respectively took the names of Sawamura Sôjûrô VIII and Sawamura Tosshô V at the Kabukiza; the new Sôjûrô played the roles of Sakuramaru and Yûshide in "Kamo Zutsumi"/"Kurumabiki" and "Imorizake".
January 1955: Sôjûrô played for the first time the role of Mankô, the Soga Brothers' mother, in the drama "Sukeroku Kuruwa no Momoyogusa", which was staged at the Kabukiza; the role of Sukeroku was played by Nakamura Kanzaburô XVII.
March 1955: Hasegawa Shin's drama "Ori" was staged with a full Kabuki casting for the first time, in Tôkyô at the Meijiza; Sôjûrô played the role of Yûchin/Shichibê's nyôbô Otane [more details].
March 1956: Sôjûrô played at the Tôyoko Hall (Tôkyô) the role of Fujiya Izaemon in the drama "Kuruwa Bunshô"; the role of the courtesan Ôgiya Yûgiri was played by his son Sawamura Tosshô V.
July 1956: revival at the Kabukiza of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Sumidagawa Hana no Goshozome", commonly called "Onna Seigen"; Sôjûrô played the role of the watashimori Otsuna [more details].
June 1958: revival at the Tôyoko Hall of the drama "Kishi no Himematsu Kutsuwa Kagami"; Sôjûrô played the role of Iihara Hyôe's wife Fujimaki [more details].
November 1959: revival at the Kabukiza of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunshô", which was supervised by Mishima Yukio; Sôjûrô played the role of Katsushika no Ojû [casting].
February 1960: premiere at the Kabukiza of Uno Nobuo's drama "Shiranui Kengyô"; Sôjûrô played the role of Iwai Tôjûrô [casting].
June 1962: revival at the Kabukiza under the supervision of Takechi Tetsuji of Namiki Gohei I's drama "Keisei Yamato Zôshi"; Sôjûrô played the role of Komaki's mother Higaki [more details].
30 August 1962: his brother Suketakaya Takasuke V died.
June 1963: Namiki Shôzô I's drama "Yadonashi Danshichi Shigure no Karakasa" was produced for the first time at the Kabukiza; Sôjûrô played the role of Jisuke's wife Okaji [casting].
April 1966: Sôjûrô played pour the last time the role of Mankô in the drama "Sukeroku Kuruwa no Momoyogusa", which was staged at the Kabukiza; the role of Sukeroku was played by Nakamura Kanzaburô XVII.
January 1967: revival at the National Theatre of "Narukami Fudô Kitayama Zakura"; Sôjûrô played the role of Ono Saemon Harumichi [casting].
March 1967: revival at the National Theatre of Tsuruya Nanboku IV's masterpiece "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunshô", which was supervised by Gunji Masakatsu; Sôjûrô played the role of Katsushika no Ojû [casting].
September 1967: Sôjûrô played at the Kabukiza the role of the servant Kichisuke, in reality Rai Tarô Kunitoshi, in the drama "Shin Usuyuki Monogatari".
October 1967: Sôjûrô played at the Kabukiza the roles of Hayase and Koman in "Moritsuna Jin'ya" and "Sanemori Monogatari"; he also took part in a special kôjô which commemorated the 22nd anniversary (23rd memorial service) of the passing away of Ichimura Uzaemon XV and celebrated the shûmei of Ichimura Yoshigorô II, Ichimura Kakitsu IX and Bandô Takesaburô V.
November 1967: Sôjûrô appeared on stage for the last time, in Tôkyô at the Kabukiza, where he played the role of Tenmaya Sôbê in the drama "Sonezaki Shinjû". He fell ill the 10th and was replaced by Kataoka Ichizô V.
3 December 1968: his brother Sawamura Shozan III died.
25 December 1975: Sôjûrô died.
Sawamura Sôjûrô VIII was both onnagata and nimaime. He did not reach the levels of fame of his father Sawamura Sôjûrô VII but he had the reputation to be the best actor for onnagata supporting roles.
Sawamura Sôjûrô VIII's best roles: Fuji-no-Kata ("Kumagai Jin'ya"), Tonami ("Terakoya"), Hayase ("Ômi Genji Senjin Yakata"), Nureginu ("Honchô Nijûshikô"), Oishi ("Kanadehon Chûshingura") and Ohana ("Toribeyama Shinjû").
 He played the role of the boy Emperor Antoku in "Tokaiya"/"Daimotsu no Ura".
 A drama belonging to the Kabuki Jûhachiban.
Sawamura Tosshô V (left) and Sawamura Sôjûrô VIII (right) performing together in the dance-drama "Ninin Wankyû", which was staged in December 1959 at the Tôyoko Hall
The Sawamura Genpei line of actors
The Sawamura Tosshô line of actors
The Sawamura Sôjûrô line of actors
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