Ken Takakura

Actor
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 ... Read more »
Born: 02/16/1931 in Japan

Filmography

Actor (15)

Dearest 2011 (Movie)

(Actor)

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles 2006 (Movie)

Gou-ichi Takada (Actor)

Poppoya 1999 (Movie)

Otomatsu Sato (Actor)

47 Ronin 1994 (Movie)

Kuranosuke Oishi (Actor)

Mr. Baseball 1992 (Movie)

Uchiyama (Actor)

A Un 1990 (Movie)

Kadokura (Actor)

Black Rain 1989 (Movie)

Masahiro Matsumoto (Actor)

Antarctica 1984 (Movie)

Ushioda (Actor)

Yasha 1984 (Movie)

Shuji (Actor)

Kaikyo 1982 (Movie)

(Actor)

Eki 1980 (Movie)

Eiji Mikami (Actor)

Harukanaru Yama No Yobigoe 1979 (Movie)

Kosaku Tajima (Actor)

Shinkansen Daibakuha 1974 (Movie)

Tetsuo Okita (Actor)

The Yakuza 1974 (Movie)

Tanaka Ken (Actor)

Miyamoto Musashi: Ganryû-jima no kettô 1965 (Movie)

Ken Takakura (Actor)

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 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. Takakura next appeared in Kon Ichikawa's international hit "47 Ronin" (1994). The drama "Railroad Man" (1999) and Yasuo Furuhata's acclaimed "The Firefly" (2001) followed. Zhang Yimou's "Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles" (2005) and Furuhata's "Dearest" (2012) proved to be the semi-retired Takakura's final films. Ken Takakura died of lymphoma on November 10, 2014, at the age of 83.

EDUCATION

Meiji University

1954

Milestones

2006

Starred in Yimou Zhang's "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles"

1999

Had leading role in "Poppoya"

1992

Butted heads with Tom Selleck in "Mr. Baseball"

1989

Starred in "Black Rain"

1977

Became star of Japanese mainstream films with "Hakkodasan" and "The Yellow Handkerchief"

1975

Had featured role in "The Yakuza"

1969

First appearance in a US feature, "Too Late the Hero"

1955

Feature film debut in "Denko Karate-uchi"

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