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Koji Yakusho

Kōji Hashimoto (born 1 January 1956), known professionally as Kōji Yakusho, is a Japanese actor. Biography Yakusho was born in Isahaya, Nagasaki, the youngest of five brothers. After graduation from the Nagasaki Prefectural High School of Technology in 1974, he worked at the Chiyoda municipal ward office, or yakusho, in Tokyo, from which he later took his stage name. In 1976, he saw a production of Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths and was inspired, first to watch, and then later to take part in, as many plays as possible. In the spring of 1978 he auditioned for Tatsuya Nakadai's the Mumeijuku (Studio for Unknown Performers) acting studio, and was one of four chosen out of 800 applicants. While at the school he met actress Saeko Kawatsu, whom he married in 1982. Their son was born in 1985. In 1983, he landed the role of Oda Nobunaga in the year-long NHK drama Tokugawa Ieyasu and was catapulted to fame. He also appeared in a TV version of Miyamoto Musashi from 1984 to 1985. For several years, he played Kuji Shinnosuke (or "Sengoku"), one of the title characters in the jidaigeki Sambiki ga Kiru!. He played a major character in Juzo Itami's 1986 Tampopo. In 1988, he was given a special award for work in cinema by the Japanese Minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture and continued to appear in films and in a number of TV shows through the '90s. In 1996 and 1997, Yakusho enjoyed several major successes. The Eel, directed by Shohei Imamura, in which he played the eel-loving lead, won the Palme d'Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Lawrence Van Gelder in the New York Times called his performance "unerring." A Lost Paradise, about a double-suicide, was second only to Princess Mononoke at the Japanese box office. International breakthrough: Shall We Dance? Shall We Dance? was a major hit in Japan that inspired a domestic dance craze. Ballroom groups and dance schools multiplied in the country after the film's release, and people who previously would never admit to taking lessons announced that they did with pride. Director Masayuki Suo said of his lead, until that point was known mostly for playing good-looking samurai, "we thought he could play this overworked, tired Japanese businessman, and he did.... [H]e pulled everything off and took his dance training so seriously." The film also was one of Japan's highest-grossing movies outside the country. It earned $9.5 million in the US and inspired a remake starring Jennifer Lopez with Richard Gere playing Yakusho's role. Yakusho next won the Hochi Film Award for Best Actor for Bounce Ko Gals, a film which dealt with high school prostitution specifically, and money worship in general. He collaborated with horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa in Cure, License to Live, Seance, Charisma, Pulse, Doppelganger, Retribution, and Tokyo Sonata. Yakusho found further recognition with international audiences to some extent with roles in such films as Memoirs of a Geisha and Babel. In the latter, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, he played the father of the deaf-mute played by Rinko Kikuchi.

Wikipedia ]

Born
Kōji Hashimoto
January 01, 1956 (age 68)
Spouse
Saeko Kawatsu (1982–present)
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