Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Top Ten Japanese Actors

Shigeki Hosokawa:
Modeling is the stepping stone for many famous actors around the world. Same thing happened with Shigeki Hosokawa. He first started as a model and then went into acting. Shigeki attended Ogaki Municipal North Elementary School and Ogaki Municipal North Junior High School. In 1994, he made his acting debut in a TBS J-Drama followed by a brief appearance in Japanese game show. From 1995-2000, he worked as a professional model. In 2002, he took time out and studied acting thoroughly. From 1995 to 2002, he did not appear in many films. During this time his major work was playing the character of “Takeda-sensei” adaptation of popular manga, “Great Teacher Onizuka.”

Joe Odagiri:
Born on February 16, 1976 at Tsuyama, Okayama Prefecture, Odagiri is a popular Japanese actor. Known for his unusual hairstyle and dress-up and his work and personality, Odagiri is the symbol of ‘Cool Japan.’ Odagiri was accepted by Kochi University but he refused the offer and went to the United States to study movie directing at the California University. Unfortunately, for a mistake in his application process, he ended up in acting class. This was a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Odagiri. He then studied in the USA for two years. He did few stage performances in Japan and finally got his big break in Kamen-Rider series. Odagiri played the central character, Godai Yusuke. It turned him into a big star overnight. His other major movies include Mushishi, Shinobi-Heart Under Blade.

Ken Takakura:
I saw this talented actor for the first time in Black Rain. He played the role of a Japanese police officer Masahiro, who helps Nick (Michael Douglas), an American police officer, avenge his partner’s death. Known as the Clint Eastwood of Japanese Cinema, Ken Takakura is famous for his dark characters such as Yakuza boss, lone fighter, and gangster. His rough and tough acting style made him an icon in Japanese cinema. Takakura’s real name is Oda Goichi. A graduate from Meiji University, Takakura is a very disciplined person and a teetotaler. A resident of Kitakyushu in Fukuoka, Takakura grew up watching the under world, black market, and racketeering. This helped him a lot playing his on screen characters. Takakura started his acting career in 1955 at the Toei Company at the age of 24. In 1976, he left Toei and by this time he appeared in more than 180 movies and many of them were popular Yakuza movie series.

Koichi Sato:
Koichi Sato is the son of legendary Japanese actor, Rentaro Mikuni. Born in 1960, Koichi Sato made his first television appearance in 1980 in a NHK television drama titled, Zoku Zoku Jiken. At that time, he was a student at the film department of Tama Art School. That same year, he got his first break in movie Seishun no Mon (The Gate of Youth ’81). For his performance in the movie, Koichi received Blue Ribbon New Talent Prize award. Koichi worked with his father Rentaro and they were the first father-son duo to win both Japan Academy and Blue Ribbon Awards. In 1994, he won the Japan Academy Best Actor award for Crest of Betrayal. In 2003, Koichi won the Japan Academy Award Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Mibu Gishi Den (When the First Sword is Drawn).

Hiroshi Abe:
Like Shigeki Hosokawa, Hiroshi Abe started his career as a model. Born on June 22, 1964, Hiroshi made successful transition from modeling to film. Currently, he is one of the regular faces in Japanese media. A graduate of Chuo University, Hiroshi is well known for his above average height. Hiroshi started as a model in 1985 winning Shueisha`s "3rd Nonno Boyfriend Champion." Nonno was one of the popular teen magazines. For his great sense of humor, he started to make regular television appearance on Fuji TV noontime variety show, “Waratte Iitomo.” He made his acting debut in 1988, during his senior years at the college. The movie titled Haikara-san Ga Touru (Trendy Girl Passes By) was not very successful but Hiroshi got movie makers’ attention for his performance. Since then, Hiroshi did numerous television shows, movies, commercials and stage dramas.

Seizo Fukumoto:
Being a specialist of Japanese Samurai and Yakuza (based on the Edu Periods of Japanese history) movies, Seizo Fukumoto is one of the leading stars of Japanese film industry at this moment. The actor came under the limelight of international media with his 2003 Hollywood movie, The Last Samurai, in which he plays the role of the ‘The Silent Samurai’. Seizo Fukumoto is considered as one of the top ‘kirareyaku (the actor who brings box office success)’ actor in Japan. He has been acting in Japanese films for the last four decades, becoming an influential actor in the industry. Though he has been very popular in Japan for a long time now, his international success came in 2003 through the Tom Cruise starrer The Last Samurai. Seizo Fukumoto was born on February 3, 1943 in Hyogo, Japan and started acting since he was 15 years old. The veteran actor is also a familiar face in television and theater in the country. In dramas, he often plays the role of police and evil man. In the movies, he plays the role of ‘ronin,’ a Samurai who have no master or lord to serve. Appearing in hundreds of Japanese movies, Seizo Fukumoto has already become a legend in the Japanese film industry.

Toshiro Mifune:
Toshiro Mifune is one of the legendary figures of Japanese film industry. He acted in almost 170 films in his illustrious career and most of the successful movies of his career came under the well-known film maker Akira Kurosawa. Some of his best known films in collaboration with Akira Kurosawa are Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo. Toshiro Mifune’s performance in portraying Miyamoto Musashi in Samurai Trilogy directed by Hiroshi Inagaki is one of his masterpieces. Born in Qinghai, China on 1st April 1920, to Japanese parents, the actor spent the first 19 years of his life in China and had experience of working in his father’s photography shop in his youth. This later helped him get a job in the Imperial Japanese Air Force. He worked in the Aerial Photography (Ko-type) unit during World War II. His entrance in the film industry was a bit dramatic. He fist tried as an assistant cameraman in a production house. Suddenly, he found himself as one of contestants of a "new faces" contest organized by Toho Productions. Actually, Mifune’s friend working in Toho Production submitted the application for Mifune, even without his knowledge. That brought a breakthrough in his career and from then on there was no looking-back in his career. The popularity of Toshiro Mifune is not confined within Japan. Rather, he is perhaps one of the most famous Japanese film stars to the western audience. The actor was awarded Order of the Sacred Treasure in 1993 by the Japanese government.

Takeshi Kitano:
Though he had an ambition to become an engineer, Takeshi Kitano ended up becoming one of the most famous comedian actors in Japan. With his versatile caliber, Takeshi Kitano marked his successful footstep in some other disciplines. He excelled his career in acting, presenting, writing novels, poets, designing video games, film editing, directing etc. Takeshi Kitano is now a professor at the Graduate School of Visual Arts, Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Most of his films are based on Yakuza gangsters, but involves humors. However, moral questions are deeply implied in his movies. Zatōichi, Kikujiro, Brother, Sonatine are some of his best known movies. With his acting skill and talent, he is well known to the foreign audiences as well. A popular television game show, Takeshi's Castle, was hosted by Takeshi Kitano. To tell the truth, he is one of the most popular figures of Japanese film industry at present.

Ken Watanabe:
Have you seen the movie The Last Samurai? This movie is famous for Tom Cruise but some people including me feel that Ken Watanabe acted better than Tom Cruise. Ken Watanabe has acted in a number of good movies including The Last Samurai. Ken got Oscar nomination for his role in the movie. Ken Watanabe was born on October 21, 1959 in a cultured family in Japan. He is more than 48 years now. In his life, he has struggled a lot. He fought against disease. His first marriage ended in divorce. At one stage in his life, Ken suffered from huge debt. Thus, his personal life is like that of his role in The Last Samurai- an eventful life. Ken Watanabe also acted in Television and Stage. In the last few years, he is working hard to make a mark in Hollywood. I have already talked about The Last Samurai. Letters from Iwo Jima is another good movie of Ken Watanabe and he was superb in that movie. In fact, Ken is good as a tragic character. Ken Watanabe has won a number of prestigious awards in Japan. I feel that sooner or later, he will grab an Oscar.

Nagase Masatoshi:
In America, Nagase Masatoshi may not so successful, but in Japan, he is a popular actor. Nagase Masatoshi was born in July 15, 1966 in Japan. He has been acting for quite some time. Mystery Train is the movie that made Masatoshi Nagase famous in the West. Another English movie that he acted is Cold Fever. He also acted some in TV commercials and he became very famous with a commercial in Japan. He has acted around 20 movies and critics most of the time, had positive view of Nagase Masatoshi.


Anonymous said...

it the japanese actors is very nice

aegan stills, songs

Anonymous said...

For me its Kimutaku all day!!