Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ennosuke was given a suspended jail term Friday for helping his parents kill themselves with sleeping pills in a family suicide pact in May after learning of a magazine report accusing him of sexual abuse and harassment.
The Tokyo District Court handed the 47-year-old Ennosuke a jail term of three years, suspended for five years, saying his decision to assist his parents' suicides was "short-sighted" and that his culpability for the criminal act "cannot be taken lightly."
But it decided to suspend his term, as asked by his defense team, as he has shown remorse and his supporters have vowed to help him recover. Prosecutors had demanded three years in prison.
"I feel unspeakably sinful for getting my father and mother involved and causing damage to many people, including in the Kabuki world, which is hard to recover from," Ennosuke said in a statement following the ruling.
As for his career outlook, Shochiku Co., a major producer of Kabuki performances, said nothing has been decided and that it intends to take time to explore potential paths forward through consultations with Ennosuke.
According to the ruling, Ennosuke told his parents he intended to take his own life after finding out about the forthcoming magazine report. While he was initially told not to go through with it by his parents, they decided to die together after discussing the matter further, it said.
The ruling said Ennosuke, whose real name is Takahiko Kinoshi, gave his father Hiroyuki, 76, known as Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danshiro, and his mother Nobuko, 75, sleeping pills at their family home in Tokyo on May 17, leading to their deaths sometime between that evening and the following day.
The weekly magazine published the report on May 18, alleging Ennosuke bullied and sexually abused actors and staff working at his theater collective.
Ennosuke's manager found him and his parents collapsed at their home on the morning of May 18, police said.
His parents were pronounced dead, while Ennosuke, who was found in a disoriented state, was hospitalized until his arrest on June 27.
Ennosuke was found with what appeared to be suicide notes bearing his name at the bottom, according to investigative sources.
The actor began his career in the early 1980s and is a prominent figure in the Kabuki world, appearing in a series of "Super Kabuki" plays that combine traditional performances with modern theatrical effects and music. The plays achieved major commercial success.
He has also appeared in several popular television series.
Emergency service in Japan: 119
If you are having suicidal thoughts, help is available.
For Japan, call Yorisoi Hotline at 0120279338 (toll-free). Press 2 after the recorded message for consultation in English, Chinese, Korean, Tagalog, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese, Nepali, or Indonesian. The service in these languages is also available on Facebook messenger.
For those outside Japan, you can find a list of other resources here.