Kabuki star Ichikawa Ennosuke given suspended sentence

Japanese Kabuki actor Ichikawa Ennosuke has been given a suspended three-year sentence for helping his parents take their own lives.

The Tokyo District Court on Friday handed down the sentence to the 47-year-old Ennosuke, whose real name is Kinoshi Takahiko.

He was accused of giving sleeping pills to his father, Kabuki actor Ichikawa Danshiro, and mother in May, leading to their deaths. The three were found collapsed at their home in Tokyo.

Judge Yasunaga Kenji said the defendant began to contemplate suicide after reading an upcoming weekly magazine report on a scandal he was involved in, and due to thoughts he had long held.

The judge noted that Ennosuke's parents tried to dissuade him, but when he told them his resolve was firm, they decided to die with him. He also said Ennosuke thought he was mentally cornered.

Calling Ennosuke's choice simplistic, the judge said he cannot take the defendant's criminal responsibility lightly, adding that he gave his parents large amounts of psychotropic drugs, leading to their deaths.

The judge also noted that the defendant expressed remorse and vowed never to commit a crime, and that people close to him have shown willingness to support him. He sentenced Ennosuke to three years in prison, suspended for five years.