Kōji Yakusho

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Kōji Yakusho
Yakusho Koji "The World of Harada Masato" at Opening Ceremony of the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival (22403788836) (cropped).jpg
Kōji Yakusho at the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival in 2015
Born Kōji Hashimoto
(1956-01-01) 1 January 1956 (age 61)
Isahaya, Nagasaki, Japan
Occupation Actor
Years active 1979–present
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 12 in)
Spouse(s) Saeko Kawatsu (1982–present)

Kōji Hashimoto (橋本 広司, Hashimoto Kōji, born 1 January 1956),[1] known professionally as Kōji Yakusho (役所 広司, Yakusho Kōji), is a Japanese actor.[2]

Biography[edit]

Yakusho was born in Isahaya, Nagasaki, the youngest of five brothers. After graduation from Nagasaki Prefectural High School of Technology in 1974, he worked at the Chiyoda municipal ward office, or kuyakusho, 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.[1]

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.[1] 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.[1]

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.[1]

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.[3] Lawrence Van Gelder in the New York Times called his performance "unerring."[4] A Lost Paradise, about a double-suicide, was second only to Princess Mononoke at the Japanese box office.

International breakthrough: Shall We Dance?[edit]

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.[5] 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."[5]

The film also was one of Japan's highest-grossing movies outside the country.[1][5] It earned $9.5 million in the US and inspired a remake starring Jennifer Lopez with Richard Gere playing Yakusho's role.[6]

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,[1] License to Live,[7] Seance, Charisma,[1] Pulse,[8] Doppelganger,[9] Retribution,[10] and Tokyo Sonata.[11] 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.[12]

Further evolution[edit]

In 2009, he debuted as director and writer of Toad's Oil. In 2010 and 2011 he was part of both ensemble casts in Takashi Miike's samurai films, 13 Assassins and Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai. The latter was in 3D and the first 3D film to be in competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

In the 2011 war drama film Rengō Kantai Shirei Chōkan: Yamamoto Isoroku, Yakusho portrayed Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Yakusho was reportedly the only actor considered for the role, and that had he not accepted it, the film would have been canceled.[13]

Filmography[edit]

Yakusho Koji at the 26th Tokyo International Film Festival

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Director Notes
1979 Hunter in the Dark Kuwano
The Last Game
1980 Twelve Months Young soldier Voice role
1981 Willful Murder Journalist
1982 Onimasa Kondō Hideo Gosha
Eternal Monument Otaka
The Legend of Sayo Hatsutaro
1985 Tampopo Man in White Suit Juzo Itami
1987 The Great Department Store Robbery Cello player
1988 Another Way: D-Kikan Joho Naoto Sekiya Lead role
1990 Under Aurora Genzo Tamiya Lead role
1993 Gurenbana Kenzo Nakada
Drug Connection Ryosuke Kano Lead role
1994 Osaka Gokudo Senso: Shinoidare Ippei Yoshikawa
1995 Kamikaze Taxi Kantake Masato Harada Lead role
1996 Shall We Dance? Shohei Sugiyama Masayuki Suo Lead role
Sleeping Man Kamimura
Shabu gokudo Makabe Lead role
1997 Lost Paradise Shoichiro Kuki Lead role
The Eel Takuro Yamashita Shohei Imamura Lead role
Bounce Ko Gals Oshima Lead role
Cure Kenichi Takabe Kiyoshi Kurosawa Lead role
1998 Bonds Takaaki Ise/Tetsuro Haga
Tadon to chikuwa Kida Lead role
1999 License to Live Fujimori Asia Pacific Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor
Charisma Goro Yabuike Lead role
Spellbound Hiroshi Kitano Masato Harada Lead role
2000 Swing Man
Dora-heita Koheita Mochizuki, aka Dora-heita Lead role
Eureka Makoto Sawai Lead role
Seance Sato Lead role, TV movie
2001 Pulse Ship captain
Warm Water Under a Red Bridge Yosuke Sasano Lead role
2002 The Choice of Hercules Atsuyuki Sassa Lead role
2003 Doppelganger Michio Hayasaki Kiyoshi Kurosawa Lead role
Fireflies: River of Light Mr. Takiguchi
2004 The Hunter and the Hunted Detective Jin Lead role
Tokyo: Level One The Governor of Tokyo Lead role
Lakeside Murder Case Shunsuke Namiki Lead role
University of Laughs Mutsuo Sakisaka Lead role
2005 Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean Masami Shin'ichi Lead role
Memoirs of a Geisha Nobu Rob Marshall American film
2006 The Uchōten Hotel Heikichi Shindo Kōki Mitani Lead role
Babel Yasujiro Wataya Foreign film
Retribution Noboru Yoshioka Lead role
2007 I Just Didn't Do It Masayoshi Arakawa Masayuki Suo
Argentine Baba Satoru Wakui Lead role
Silk Hara Jubei Foreign film
Walking My Life Yukihiro Fujiyama Lead role
2008 Paco and the Magical Book Onuki Tetsuya Nakashima Lead role
Tokyo Sonata The Robber Kiyoshi Kurosawa
2009 Mt. Tsurugidake Morisaku Furuta Daisaku Kimura
Gelatin Silver Love Client Kazumi Kurigami
Toad's Oil Takuro Yazawa Kōji Yakusho Lead role, also director and writer
2010 13 Assassins Shinzaemon Shimada Takashi Miike Lead role, nominated Asian Film Award for Best Actor
The Last Ronin Magozaemon Senoo Shigemichi Sugita Lead role
2011 Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai Kageyu Saito Takashi Miike
Isoroku Isoroku Yamamoto Izuru Narushima Lead role
Chronicle of My Mother Masato Harada Lead role
The Woodsman and the Rain Katsuhiko Shūichi Okita Lead role
2012 A Terminal Trust Shinzo Egi Masayuki Suo
2013 The Kiyosu Conference Shibata Katsuie Kōki Mitani Lead role
2014 The World of Kanako Akikazu Fujishima Tetsuya Nakashima Lead role
A Samurai Chronicle Shūkoku Toda Takashi Koizumi Lead role
2015 The Emperor in August Korechika Anami Masato Harada Lead role
The Boy and the Beast Kumatetsu Mamoru Hosoda Lead voice role
2017 Sekigahara Tokugawa Ieyasu Masato Harada
Oh Lucy! Komori Atsuko Hirayanagi American-Japanese film
The Third Murder Misumi Hirokazu Koreeda
2018 The Blood of Wolves Shōgo Ōgami Kazuya Shiraishi Lead role

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes
1980 Natchan no shashinkan Kayama NHK Asadora
Shishi no Jidai Murakami Taiji NHK Taiga drama
1981 Onna Taikōki Oda Nobutaka NHK Taiga drama
1983 Tokugawa Ieyasu Oda Nobunaga NHK Taiga drama
1984–85 Miyamoto Musashi Miyamoto Musashi NHK Lead role
1986 Inochi Hamamura NHK Taiga drama
1987–1995 Sanbiki ga Kiru! Kuji Shin'nosuke EX
1991 Takeda Shingen Takeda Shingen TBS Lead role
1994 Hana no Ran Ibuki Saburo Nobutsuna NHK Taiga drama
2000 Aikotoba wa Yūki Jintaro Akatsuki CX Lead role
2010 Wagaya no Rekishi Narrator CX
2014 Oyaji no Senaka Sōsuke Aoki TBS ep. 2 "Wedding Match", lead role
2017 Ties: A Miraculous Colt Masayuki NHK Lead role
Rikuō Kōichi Miyazawa TBS Lead role
Byplayers Himself TX ep. 1
2019 Idaten Kanō Jigorō NHK Taiga drama

Dubbing roles[edit]

Awards and honors[edit]

Awards
Year Award Category Film Result
1984 Elan d'or Awards 1984 Newcomer of the Year Tokugawa Ieyasu (TV) Won
1996 50th Mainichi Film Award Best Actor Kamikaze Taxi Won
21st Hochi Film Award Best Actor Shall We Dance?, Sleeping Man, Shabu gokudo Won
9th Nikkan Sports Film Award Best Actor Won
1997 18th Yokohama Film Festival Best Actor Won
51st Mainichi Film Award Best Actor Won
70th Kinema Junpo Award Best Actor Won
39th Blue Ribbon Awards Best Actor Won
6th Japanese Film Critics Awards Best Actor Won
20th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Shall We Dance? Won
22nd Hochi Film Award Best Actor The Eel, Lost Paradise, Bounce ko GALS Won
10th Tokyo International Film Festival Best Actor Cure Won
1998 42nd Asia-Pacific Film Festival Best Actor The Eel Won
21st Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Won
40th Blue Ribbon Awards Best Actor The Eel, Lost Paradise, Cure Won
71st Kinema Junpo Award Best Actor The Eel, Cure Won
1999 22nd Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Kizuna Nominated
2000 23rd Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Spellbound Nominated
2001 24th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Dora-heita Nominated
Chicago International Film Festival Best Actor Warm Water Under a Red Bridge Won
2002 25th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Nominated
2003 26th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor The Choice of Hercules Nominated
2005 28th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor University of Laughs Nominated
26th Yokohama Film Festival Best Actor University of Laughs, Yudan Taiteki, Tokyo Genpatsu Won
2007 30th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor The Uchōten Hotel Nominated
2008 31st Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Walking My Life Nominated
2009 32nd Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Paco and the Magical Book Nominated
2011 8th Dubai International Film Festival: Muhr AsiaAfrica Feature Best Actor The Woodsman and the Rain Won
34th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor 13 Assassins Nominated
2012 35th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor The Last Ronin Nominated
JAPAN CUTS: Festival of New Japanese Film CUT ABOVE Award for Excellence in Film[14] Won
2013 36th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Chronicle of My Mother, Isoroku Nominated
2014 47th Sitges Film Festival Best Actor The World of Kanako Won
1st Kyoto International Art and Film Festival Toshiro Mifune Award Won
2015 38th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor A Samurai Chronicle Nominated
2016 58th Blue Ribbon Awards Best Actor The Emperor in August Nominated
39th Japan Academy Prize Best Actor Nominated
2017 42nd Hochi Film Award Best Supporting Actor The Third Murder, Sekigahara Won
30th Nikkan Sports Film Award Best Supporting Actor Won
Honors
Year Honor
2012 Medal with Purple Ribbon

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Koji Yakusho". nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  2. ^ "Yakusho Kōji", Nihon jinmei daijiten+Plus, Kōdansha, retrieved 13 February 2012 
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Eel". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-24. 
  4. ^ "The Eel:Passion That Seethes Under the Surface". New York Times. 1998-08-21. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  5. ^ a b c "Masayuki Suo's Whole Wide Whirl". San Francisco Chronicle. 1997-07-13. 
  6. ^ "Shall We Dance?". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  7. ^ Mes, Tom (August 15, 2001). "License to Live". Midnight Eye. 
  8. ^ Kipp, Jeremiah (June 20, 2005). "Pulse". Slant Magazine. 
  9. ^ Mes, Tom (April 15, 2004). "Midnight Eye review: Doppelgänger". Midnight Eye. 
  10. ^ Bourne, Christopher (January 27, 2012). "Review: Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Retribution"". Meniscus. 
  11. ^ Rafferty, Terrence (March 6, 2009). "This Time, the Horror's in the Normality". The New York Times. 
  12. ^ "Review: Babel". LA Weekly. 2006-10-26. Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  13. ^ "Yakusho Koji portrays WWII naval commander Yamamoto Isoroku". TokyoGraph. May 14, 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2013. 
  14. ^ "JAPAN CUTS 2012 Guests". www.japansociety.org. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 

External links[edit]