One of Japan’s best-known kabuki actors has been arrested on suspicion of assisting in his mother’s suicide after both parents were found unconscious at his home last month.

Police said Ennosuke Ichikawa, a 47-year-old star of the classical theatre form, “allegedly made a 75-year-old woman take sleep-inducing pills at his home and die of psychoactive drug addiction, thereby assisting in her suicide”.

Rescue workers in May found Ichikawa’s 76-year-old father – also a kabuki actor – and his 75-year-old mother unconscious at his home in Tokyo.

Both were later confirmed dead, and police are also investigating the father’s death, media reports said.

Ichikawa, who has performed in London, Amsterdam and Paris, was discovered collapsed at his home on the same day and taken to hospital, where he was questioned.

On Tuesday, he was quoted by the news agency Jiji Press as telling investigators that he was “going to follow my parents and kill myself”, admitting to the charges.

Ichikawa told officers that the family “discussed dying and being reborn” and that his parents had taken sleeping pills, according to the public broadcaster NHK.

An apparent suicide note written by Ichikawa was also reportedly found at his home.

Ichikawa, whose real name is Takahiko Kinoshi, made his kabuki debut in 1980 and went on to become one of the country’s most renowned performers.


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