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Eijiro Ozaki (尾崎英二郎) is a Japanese actor. To English-speaking audiences he is known for playing characters, such as Lieutenant Okubo in Letters from Iwo Jima , Young Kaito Nakamura in Heroes Season 2 and as Masao Kume in Little Boy.
At the age of 20, he spent one year at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln as an exchange student. That was when he had his first acting experience in front of the cameras for an American televised educational program and gave him hint of his potential as an actor.
He made his first professional stage debut in 1994 playing Jim, the lead role in Rebel Without A Cause, performed entirely in English, and dived into his full-time acting career. He started learning Sanford Meisner's techniques under Yoko Narahashi at the United Performers' Studio, Tokyo in 1994. In 1995, he was coached by Frank Corsaro, a former Actors Studio, New York artistic director, in his drama training.
In 1997, he was singled out to play opposite a popular actress in the National Television drama series Agri. This TV debut gave him more chances to appear in the New Year special drama Uesugi Yozan (1998) and the prime time historical epic Genroku Ryoran (1999).
His breakthrough came as Lt. Yamamoto in the Elle Company production The Winds Of God, one of Japan's most popular straight plays. In 1998, the play was performed for one month at the Judith Anderson Theater, on Off-Off-Broadway in New York. In 1999, the troop went on the National Tour in Japan and gave a 2-month run in New York again at the American Place Theater on Off Broadway. With its total estimated viewing audience of nearly 40,000, The Winds Of God became an excellent opportunity for Ozaki to gain maximum exposure to theater fans. Playing the 3rd lead role, Lieutenant Yamamoto, a Kamikaze pilot. Ozaki showed his potential in both comedy and tragedy. Then he won acclaim by New York critics in 5 reviews of papers and magazines such as The New Yorker, Daily News, Newsday and more.
In 2003, he appeared in Warner Bros.' period epic The Last Samurai. Ozaki was marked by the film's stunt coordinator Nick Powell and selected as one of the Battle Corps (Battle Core) actors. Battle Core was composed of the best 100 Japanese actors possessing accurate swordplay technique, for the key battle sequences set in the mountains of Japanese war fields. Ozaki performed as a High Ranking Samurai of Katsumoto (Ken Watanabe)'s troop in the last great sword-wielding charge against forces armed with the first Western weapons of mass destruction. After this production, he earned his membership in Taurus World Stunt Awards Academy.
The film project, in which he literally devoted his life, was the most prominent one to date in his filmography. It is Warner Bros.' Iwo jima battle epic Letters From Iwo Jima, directed by Academy Award winner Clint Eastwood and produced by Steven Spielberg (DreamWorks) starring Ken Watanabe. Besides Watanabe, only 7 actors were selected from the mainland of Japan as his supporting roles. Ozaki received the honor to be one of the 7 principal actors. He played as Lieutenant Okubo, Baron Nishi's deputy, who takes the lead of the men, when Nishi dies in a battle. Okubo's courage sacrifices his life to save his troop in the crossfire against the US Marines. The film won numerous awards including an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing, Golden Globe Award for Best Picture in Foreign Language and National Board of Review's Best Film of The Year.
After Ozaki moved his base to the US in 2007, he landed the guest star role in NBC TV series Heroes, Young Kaito Nakamura, father of Hiro Nakamura, in 1977. Young Kaito stops Adam Monroe (David Anders) who tries to unleash a virus that could kill billions of innocent people. Other TV credits include How I Met Your Mother (CBS), FlashForward (ABC), The Game (CW).
In 2011, he played Mr. Sato in Lil Tokyo Reporter, a 1930s period film about Civil Rights Activist Sei Fujii, played by Academy Award-Winner Chris Tashima. The film received over 20 festival awards, and was presented at several U.S. Embassies around the globe.
2015 through 2016, Metanoia Films' Little Boy opened nationally in the US, Mexico, Japan and worldwide. The film won 2016 Premios Luminus Awards' Best Picture, Best Director, Best Young Actor.
|Little Boy||Masao Kume|
|Fukai Mori||The Writer|
|Lil Tokyo Reporter||Mr. Sato|
|Gakko Wo Tsukuro (Let's Build A University)||Tetsuomi Tani|
|The Hirosaki Players||Tsubasa|
|The 8th Samurai||Nanshu|
|Letters From Iwo Jima||Lieutenant Okubo|
|The Last Samurai||Sword Stunt performer|
|Gaijin - Love Me As I Am||Kunihiro|
|Born to Be King||Yakuza|
|Garo no Okite||Koike|
|Great Jail Break||Goto|
|Heroes Reborn||Kaiju Bandit, Japanese Newscaster (voice)||2 episode|
|Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.||Hydra Prisoner||1 episode|
|Extant||Chief Scientist||1 episode|
|Touch||Japanese Businessman||1 episode|
|The Wedding Band||Tokyo Tourist||1 episode|
|How I Met Your Mother||Ninja||1 episode|
|The Game||Maitre D'||1 episode|
|Heroes||Young Kaito Nakamura||1 episode|
|Haru and Natsu||Kunio Takakura||2 episodes|
|Agri||Kenichi Kimura||3 episodes|
|Genroku Ryoran||Tamura's samurai||1 episode|
|Yozan Uesugi||Uesugi's samurai|
Video games roles
|Syndicate||Agent Tatsuo Hamilton|
|The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena||Yoto|
|Dead Rising 3||Harry "Zhi" Wong|
|The American Place Theatre, New York||The Winds of God|
|The Judith Anderson Theatre, New York||The Winds of God|
|Japan National Tour||The Winds of God|
|West Japan Tour||The Winds of God|
|Shavian Theater Company, NZ||Shuriken|
|Model Language Studio, Japan||Rebel Without a Cause|
|Theater V Akasaka, Japan||Dog Day Afternoon|
In 2009, Eijiro received Best Actor Award for his role in AFI Production short The 8th Samurai at Show Off Your Shorts Film Festival, USA.
The film also won Best of Fest Award at LA Shorts Fest 2009.