The hereditary stage name of some famous kabuki
actors, in the company founded by Nakamura Utaemon I (1714-1790). As well as this name the actors take a yago
or guild name: that of the Utaemon actor
s is Narikomaya
Nakamura Utaemon VI, a great onnagata (player of the female role) was born Kawamura Fujio in Tokyo on 20 January 1917, and died on 31 March 2001. He was the son of Utaemon V, who died in 1940. He took on the title of Utaemon VI in 1951, with a performance of Yukihimo in Kinkakuji. He was acclaimed a Living National Treasure in 1968. He was a skilled musician, and played the koto, the samisen, and the kukyo. Yukio Mishima, in a tribute to him written in 1959, said s/he was "like watching frozen fire": Greta Garbo once cabled to him "I love you". His mascot, a koala, went with him everywhere, even getting its own seat on aeroplanes.
This information on Utaemon VI is taken from his obituary by James Kirkup in The Independent, 6 April 2001. In this Kirkup describes his own experiences of seeing Utaemon act:
I managed to touch the hem of his garment as he passed slowly down the hanamichi, and he paused slightly, as if he had felt my touch, then slowly turned and gazed lengthily upon me from those sore-looking eyes in their mask of white make-up. I gazed back at "her" in adoration, and, as if she had recognised an old flame, he made some enchanting play with her hands, bending his gracious, frail, slender neck and delicately gathering the front edges of her voluminous, ornate kimono, and, with a final "detached" look that reminded me of Fonteyn, half-smiled with blackened teeth and swept on towards the stage like a treasure galleon in full sail.