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September 11, 1968
Kanagawa Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan.
|Occupation||Actor, performer, restaurant operator|
Tetsuo Kurata (倉田 てつを Kurata Tetsuo?) (born September 11, 1968) is a Japanese television, stage and film actor and administrator, best known for portraying Kotaro Minami, the main character in the tokusatsu television series Kamen Rider Black and its sequel, Kamen Rider Black RX. At the age of 19 he made his acting debut in Black, and has since appeared in many other television series and Japanese doramas. His birth name is Tetsuo Takayama (高山 哲夫 Takayama Tetsuo?).
Kurata auditioned for the role of Kotaro Minami in January 1987, when he had just graduated from high school. In a 2006 interview, Kurata had stated that, during the audition, he hadn't been able to portray the character appropriately, and did not think he would get the role. To his surprise, he was chosen by Shōtarō Ishinomori himself to play the lead role, beating some 8,000 other contestants. During this period, Kurata underwent intense training that included stage combat techniques, physical exercise sessions and acting and singing lessons.
On October 4, 1987, Kamen Rider Black premiered on TBS to public and critical acclaim. The success of the series, which ran for 51 episodes, generated enough interest from Toei Company executives to persuade them to produce a sequel, something unprecedented in the Kamen Rider Series franchise. After finishing his work on Black, Kurata was approached by Toei and renewed his contract for one more year in exchange for a salary raise to work on Black's sequel, Kamen Rider Black RX. This second series was less successful than its predecessor due to its witty and comical style, which differed deeply from the shadowy, darker tone of the original. In a 1989 magazine interview, Kurata said that although he preferred Black over Black RX (labeling the humor in the latter as "excessive"), he was glad the character enjoyed a positive and happy turn of events after Black's sad ending. However, it is rumored that Kurata declined later invitations to reprise the role in fear of being typecast, as his stigma as a Kamen Rider was almost as strong as Hiroshi Fujioka's Takeshi Hongo in the first series, but such rumors remain unconfirmed.
Following the end of Black RX, Kurata has appeared in various television series and doramas as supporting characters. He has apparently been out of the public spotlight after taking a hiatus from the entertainment industry, but came back to voice Kotaro Minami/Kamen Rider Black in Kamen Rider: Seigi No Keifu, as well as appearing in Battle of the Cooking Iron (Ore Gohan), pitting himself against Takayuki Tsubaki, known for his role as the title character of Kamen Rider Blade.
In 2009, Kurata returned as Kotaro Minami in the movie Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker and also made a cameo appearance in Kamen Rider Decade, reprising his role as Kotaro Minami. He will further reprise his role in 2015 in an as of yet untitled Kamen Rider film.
Away from the world of entertainment, Kurata owns a steakhouse called Billy the Kid in Kōtō, Tokyo. He also acts from time to time in TV dramas and stage plays in his spare time.
- Kamen Rider Black (1987) - Kotaro Minami/Kamen Rider Black - Aired on: May 3, 1987 - May 15, 1988 - 51 Episodes
- Kamen Rider Black RX (1988) - Kotaro Minami/Kamen Rider Black RX - Aired on: May 24, 1988 - April 9, 1989 - 47 Episodes
- Ranpo Edogawa: The Dark Light (1990)
- Kimi no Na Wa (1991)
- Men Who Fight (1992) - Syoji Matsuoka
- Nogaremono Orin (2007) - Take Hazime
- Kamen Rider Decade (2009) - Kotaro Minami(RX)/Kamen Rider Black RX, Kotaro Minami(Black)/Kamen Rider Black
- Kamen Rider Decade: All Riders vs. Dai-Shocker (2009) - Kotaro Minami/Kamen Rider Black RX (cameo)
(1987) Kamen Rider Black
- Kamen Rider Black Opening Theme
- Ore no Seishun 1st Movie Closing Theme
(1988) Kamen Rider Black RX
- Kuroi Yuusha Insert Theme