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Ken Takakura

Ken Takakura

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: February 16, 1931 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Japan Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Like American film star John Wayne, Ken Takakura has defined the Japanese man and has had a prolific superstar film career, appearing in more than 200 films, shifting from "yakuza" or crime-action films to more mainstream fare. He thrice received the Japanese Academy Award as Best Actor and has on occasion appeared in English-language films.A graduate of Meiji University, Takakura studied commerce, but turned to acting soon after graduation, making his screen debut in 1955 in "Denko Karate-uchi". He toiled for about a decade before becoming a bona fide star with a string of Japanese hits in the mid-60s, more frequently playing men of the current era rather than mythical samurai or heroic icons of the glory days. When legendary Hollywood director Robert Aldrich needed an actor to play the Japanese officer pursuing Cliff Robertson and Michael Caine in "Too Late the Hero" (1970), he turned to Takakura, who stole the picture. He did the same playing a crime boss for Sydney Pollack in his next English-language effort, "The Yakuza" (1975). Takakura did not pursue any ongoing connection with Hollywood, but rather continued to make Japanese hits, including "Eki/Station" (1981), "Antarctica" (1982), and "A...

Like American film star John Wayne, Ken Takakura has defined the Japanese man and has had a prolific superstar film career, appearing in more than 200 films, shifting from "yakuza" or crime-action films to more mainstream fare. He thrice received the Japanese Academy Award as Best Actor and has on occasion appeared in English-language films.

A graduate of Meiji University, Takakura studied commerce, but turned to acting soon after graduation, making his screen debut in 1955 in "Denko Karate-uchi". He toiled for about a decade before becoming a bona fide star with a string of Japanese hits in the mid-60s, more frequently playing men of the current era rather than mythical samurai or heroic icons of the glory days. When legendary Hollywood director Robert Aldrich needed an actor to play the Japanese officer pursuing Cliff Robertson and Michael Caine in "Too Late the Hero" (1970), he turned to Takakura, who stole the picture. He did the same playing a crime boss for Sydney Pollack in his next English-language effort, "The Yakuza" (1975). Takakura did not pursue any ongoing connection with Hollywood, but rather continued to make Japanese hits, including "Eki/Station" (1981), "Antarctica" (1982), and "A Un/Buddies" (1989), films with little release in the West. Hollywood called again in 1989 with "Black Rain", in which Takakura was Andy Garcia's Japanese police connection, and for "Mr. Baseball" (1992), in which Takakura instructs Tom Selleck on how to play an American game in a foreign land.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

2.
 Poppoya (1999) Otomatsu Sato
3.
 47 Ronin (1994) Kuranosuke Oishi
4.
 Mr. Baseball (1992) Uchiyama
5.
 Un, A (1990) Kadokura
6.
 Black Rain (1989) Masahiro Matsumoto
7.
 Yasha (1985) Shuji
8.
 Antarctica (1984) Ushioda
9.
 Kaikyo (1983)
10.
 Eki (1981) Eiji Mikami
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Milestones close milestones

1955:
Feature film debut in "Denko Karate-uchi"
1970:
First appearance in a US feature, "Too Late the Hero"
1975:
Had featured role in "The Yakuza"
1977:
Became star of Japanese mainstream films with "Hakkodasan" and "The Yellow Handkerchief"
1989:
Starred in "Black Rain"
1992:
Butted heads with Tom Selleck in "Mr. Baseball"
1999:
Had leading role in "Poppoya"
2006:
Starred in Yimou Zhang's "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Meiji University: - 1954

Notes

"Ken Takakura is the most important actor in Japan. He has been the only superstar and undisputed king of Japanese movies. Like John Wayne or James Dean, he is much more than an actor. Takakura is one of the most important forces in post-war Japan: because of the level of popular culture, he singlehandedly redefined the role of the Japanese man for post-war society. In short, he showed Japan how to live in the modern world." --Leonard Schrader, co-writer, "The Yakuza".

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