Ken Takakura

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Ken Takakura
高倉 健
TakakuraKen.jpg
Born
Goichi Oda

(1931-02-16)February 16, 1931
DiedNovember 10, 2014(2014-11-10) (aged 83)
Tokyo, Japan
Alma materMeiji University
OccupationActor
Years active1956–2014
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Spouse
(m. 1959; div. 1971)

Ken Takakura (高倉 健, Takakura Ken), born Goichi Oda (小田 剛一, Oda Gōichi, February 16, 1931 – November 10, 2014), was a Japanese actor and singer who appeared in over 200 films. Affectionately referred to as "Ken-san" by audiences, he was best known for his brooding style and the stoic presence he brought to his roles.[1] He won the Japan Academy Prize for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role four times, more than any other actor.[2] Takakura additionally received the Japanese Medal of Honor with purple ribbon in 1998, the Person of Cultural Merit award in 2006, and the Order of Culture in 2013.

Life and career[edit]

Takakura was born in Nakama, Fukuoka in 1931.[3] He attended Tochiku High School in nearby Yahata City, where he was a member of the boxing team and English society. It was around this time that he gained his streetwise swagger and tough-guy persona watching yakuza movies.[4] This subject was covered in one of his most famous movies, Showa Zankyo-den (Remnants of Chivalry in the Showa Era), in which he played an honorable old-school yakuza among the violent post-war gangs.[3] After graduating from Meiji University in Tokyo, Takakura attended an audition on impulse in 1955 at the Toei Film Company while applying for a managerial position.[3]

Toei found a natural in Takakura as he debuted with Denko Karate Uchi (Lightning Karate Blow) in 1956.[5] In 1959 he married singer Chiemi Eri, but divorced in 1971. His breakout role would be in the 1965 film Abashiri Prison, and its sequel Abashiri Bangaichi: Bokyohen (Abashiri Prison: Longing for Home, also 1965), in which he played an ex-con antihero.[3] By the time Takakura left Toei in 1976, he had appeared in over 180 films.[4]

He gained international recognition after starring in the 1970 war film Too Late the Hero as the cunning Imperial Japanese Major Yamaguchi, the 1974 Sydney Pollack sleeper hit The Yakuza with Robert Mitchum, and is probably best known in the West for his role in Ridley Scott's Black Rain (1989), in which he surprises American cops played by Michael Douglas and Andy García with the line, "I do speak fucking English".[1][3] He again appeared to Western audiences with the 1992 Fred Schepisi comedy Mr. Baseball starring Tom Selleck.[5]

Takakura was one of the few Japanese actors who experienced popularity in China, due to his appearance in Junya Satō's 1976 crime drama Kimi yo Fundo no Kawa o Watare (known in some territories as Manhunt), the first foreign film shown after the Cultural Revolution.[6] He also starred the titular assassin in Junya Satō's Golgo 13 (1973), a Japanese–Iranian production and the first live-action adaptation of the Japanese manga series Golgo 13.

He appeared in three films since 2000: Hotaru (ホタル, The Firefly) in May 2001, Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, by Chinese director Zhang Yimou, in late December 2005, and Yasuo Furuhata's Anata e (Dearest) in late August 2012, after a six-year hiatus.[7] He died of lymphoma on November 10, 2014.[8][2] Shintaro Ishihara described him as "the last big star (in Japan)."[9] A huge number of Chinese internet users expressed their sympathies and condolences, including many celebrities in the Chinese movie industry.[10] The spokesman of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hong Lei said that Takakura made significant contributions to the cultural exchange between China and Japan.[11]

A documentary based on Takakura's life entitled Ken San premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival and was released in Japanese theaters on August 20, 2016.[12] It was directed by photographer Yuichi Hibi and features interviews with filmmakers and actors such as Martin Scorsese, Paul Schrader, Michael Douglas, John Woo, and Yoji Yamada.[13]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Director Notes Ref(s)
1956 Denkô ryûsei karate uchi Yusaku Shinobu Fujio Tsuda
Denkô karate uchi Fujio Tsuda
Choppu sensei Unknown Eiichi Koishi
Nippon G-men Unknown Eiichi Koishi
Yûhi to kenjû Shintarô Kiyoshi Saeki
Haha kikaku Unknown Masamitsu Igayama
Kenjû o suterû Unknown Eiichi Koishi
1957 Daigaku no Ishimatsu Unknown Eiichi Koishi
Tajobushin Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Nisshin senso fuun hiwa: Kiri no machi Unknown Yasushi Sasaki
Aoi unabara Kenji Hamada Tsuneo Kobayashi
Jetto-ki shutsudo: Daihyakuichi kokukichi Jirô Nakata Tsuneo Kobayashi
1958 Musume jûhachi goikenmuyô Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Tarao Bannai: Jusan no mao Unknown Sadatsugu Matsuda
Ren'ai jiyûgata Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Kisetsufu no kanatani Unknown Hideo Sekigawa
Hibari no hanagata tantei kassen Unknown Yasushi Sasaki
Kibô no otome Unknown Yasushi Sasaki
Mori to mizuumi no matsuri Ichitaro Kazamori Tomu Uchida
Musume no naka no musume Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Do no hâjiki wa jigokû dazê Unknown Sadatsugu Matsuda
1959 Senpukazuku Unknown Eiichi Koishi
Muhô gai no yarô domo Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Kuroi yubi no otoko Unknown Masuichi Iizuka
Kôdo nanasen metoru: kyôfu no yojikan Unknown Tsuneo Kobayashi
Kêdamonô no torû michi Unknown Hideo Sekigawa
Jigokû no sokô made tsuki auzê Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Hyoryû shitaî Unknown Hideo Sekigawa
1960 Zoku beran me-e geisha Unknown Eiichi Koishi
Ôinaru tabiji Kozo's Second Son Hideo Sekigawa
Zubekô tenshi Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Tenka no Kaidanji Tosshin Tarô Tarô Tosshin Tsuneo Kobayashi
Zoku zoku beran me-e geisha Unknown Eiichi Koishi
Otoko nara yattemiro Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Sabaku o wataru taiyo Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Ôzora no muhômono Unknown Shoichi Shimazu
Nippatsume wa jigoku-iki daze Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
1961 Tenka no Kaidanji Senpû Tarô Tarô Senpû Eijirô Wakabayashi
Hana to arashi to gyangu Unknown Teruo Ishii
Hibari minyo no tabi beran me e geisha Sado heiku Unknown Kunio Watanabe
Mannen Tarô to anego shain Tarô Mannen Tsuneo Kobayashi
Beranme Chunori-san Unknown Masamitsu Igayama
Akuma no temari-uta Kindaichi Kôsuke Kunio Watanabe
Saigo no kaoyaku Unknown Yasushi Sasaki
Kashi no onna Ishimatsu Unknown Eiichi Kudô
Boku wa jigoku no tehinshi da Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Beran me-e geisha makari tôru Unknown Eiichi Koishi
1962 Minami taiheiyô nami takashi Unknown Kunio Watanabe
Beran me-e geisha to Osaka musume Unknown Kunio Watanabe
Ni-nirokushiken Daisshutsu Unknown Tsuneo Kobayashi
Koi to Taiyo to Gang Unknown Teruo Ishii
Komon shacho manyuki Unknown Eiichi Koishi
Minyo no tabi: Sakurajima Otemoyan Unknown Kunio Watanabe
Sanbyakurokujugoya Unknown Kunio Watanabe
Ankoku-gai saigo no hi Unknown Umetsugu Inoue
Tôkyô antatchaburu Yoshio Harada Shinji Murayama
Yumin-gai no Judan Unknown Masuichi Iizuka
Uragiri mono wa jigoku daze Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Sen-hime to Hideyori Naomori Masahiro Makino
1963 Ankokugai no kaoyaku: juichinin no gyangu Sawagami Teruo Ishii
Tokyo aantachibiru: dasso Yoshio Harada Hideo Sekigawa
Ankokugai saidai no kettô Shimpei Matsuoka Umetsugu Inoue
Miyamoto Musashi: Nitôryû kaigen Sasaki Kojiro Tomu Uchida
Gyangu Chûshingura Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Kyôkatsu Unknown Yûsuke Watanabe
Theater of Life: Hishakaku Unknown Tadashi Sawashima
Bôsu o tosê Unknown Teruo Ishii
Bôryoku gai Unknown Tsuneo Kobayashi
1964 Tôkyô gyangu tai Honkon gyangu Unknown Teruo Ishii
Miyamoto Musashi: Ichijôji no kettô Sasaki Kojiro Tomu Uchida
Jakoman and Tetsu Tetsu Kinji Fukasaku
Narazumono Minami Teruo Ishii
Irezumi totsugekitai Unknown Teruo Ishii
Ankokugai Main Street Tetsuya Shinobu Umetsugu Inoue
Nihon kyôkaku-den Chokichi Masahiro Makino
Wolves, Pigs and Men Jirō Kinji Fukasaku
1965 Kaoyaku Kyôichi Hayami Teruo Ishii
A Fugitive from the Past Detective Ajimura Tomu Uchida [14]
Nihon Kyokaku-den: naniwa-hen Unknown Masahiro Makino
Abashiri Prison Shinichi Tsukibana Teruo Ishii
Nihon Kyokaku-den: kanto-hen Unknown Masahiro Makino
Miyamoto Musashi: Ganryû-jima no kettô Sasaki Kojiro Tomu Uchida
Shôwa zankyô-den Seiji Terajima Kiyoshi Saeki
Abashiri bangaichi: Bôkyô hen Unknown Teruo Ishii
Abashiri bangaichi: Hokkai hen Shinichi Tsukibana Teruo Ishii
1966 Shôwa zankyô-den: Karajishi botan Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Nihon Kyokaku-den: Ketto Kanda-matsuri Shinsan Masahiro Makino
Kamikaze yarô Unknown Kinji Fukasaku
Otoko no shôbu Unknown Sadao Nakajima
Nihon Kyokaku-den: Kaminari-mon no Ketto Unknown Masahiro Makino
Jigoku no okite ni asu wa nai Ichiro Takita Yasuo Furuhata
Showa zankyo-den: Ippiki okami Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Abashiri Bangaichi: Nangoku no Taiketsu Shinichi Tsukibana Teruo Ishii
Abashiri Bangaichi: Koya no taiketsu Shinichi Tsukibana Teruo Ishii
Abashiri bangaichi: Dai setsugen no taiktsu Shinichi Tsukibana Teruo Ishii
1967 Abashiri bangaichi: Kettô reika 30 do Shinichi Tsukibana Teruo Ishii
Shôwa zankyô-den: Chizome no karajishi Hidejirô Hanada Masahiro Makino
Abashiri bangaichi: Fubuki no tôsô Shinichi Tsukibana Teruo Ishii
Nihon Kyokaku-den: Shira-ha no Sakazuki Unknown Masahiro Makino
Nihon kyokaku-den: kirikomi Unknown Masahiro Makino
Kyokotsu ichidai Unknown Masahiro Makino
Kyokakû no okitê Unknown Motohiro Torii
Abashiri Bangaichi: Aku eno Chôsen Shinichi Tsukibana Teruo Ishii
Âa dôki no sakura First Lieutenant Kenmochi Sadao Nakajima
1968 Nihon Kyokaku-den: Zetsuenjô Unknown Masahiro Makino
Koya no toseinin Ken Kato Junya Sato
The Valiant Red Peony Shogo Hanaoka Kōsaku Yamashita
Gorotsuki Unknown Masahiro Makino
Jinsei-gekijô: Hishakaku to kiratsune Unknown Tomu Uchida
Gion matsuri Unknown Daisuke Itô and Tetsuya Yamanouchi
Bakuto retsuden Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Shin Abashiri Bangaichi Katsuji Suematsu Yasuo Furuhata
Kyokaku Retsuden Unknown Masahiro Makino
Gokuchu no kaoyaku Unknown Yasuo Furuhata
1969 Hibotan bakuto: Hanafuda shôbu Shogo Hanaoka Tai Katô
Shôwa zankyô-den: Karajishi jingi Unknown Masahiro Makino
Hibotan bakuto: Nidaime shûmei Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Nihon kyokaku-den: hana to ryu Tamai Kingoro Masahiro Makino
Nihon ansatsu hiroku Unknown Sadao Nakajima
Tosei-nin Retsuden Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Showa zankyo-den: Hito-kiri karajishi Unknown Kôsaku Yamashita
Shin Abashiri Bangaichi: Saihate no Nagare-mono Shinichi Tsukibana Kiyoshi Saeki
Shin Abashiri Bangaichi: Runin-masaki no ketto Shinichi Tsukibana Yasuo Furuhata
Sengo Saidai no Toba Unknown Kôsaku Yamashita
Nihon jokyo-den: kyokaku geisha Unknown Kôsaku Yamashita
Chôeki san kyôdai Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Bakuto mujô Unknown Buichi Saitô
1970 Bakuto ikka Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Nippon dabi katsukyu Unknown Jun'ya Satô
Too Late the Hero Major Yamaguchi Robert Aldrich Anglo-American film
Shôwa zankyô-den: Shinde moraimasu Unknown Masahiro Makino
Saigo no tokkôtai Unknown Jun'ya Satô
Nihon kyokaku-den: Nobori Ryu Unknown Kôsaku Yamashita
Yukyo-retsuden Unknown
Sutemi no Narazu-mono Unknown Yasuo Furuhata
Shin Abashiri Bangaichi: Fubuki no Hagure Okami Shinichi Tsukibana Yasuo Furuhata
Shin Abashiri Bangaichi: Dai Shinrin no Ketto Shinichi Tsukibana Yasuo Furuhata
Nihon jokyo-den: makka na dokyo-bana Unknown Yasuo Furuhata
1971 Nihon yakuza-den: Sôchiyô e no michi Ryutaro Fudo Masahiro Makino
Gorotsuki mushuku Isamu Tekada Yasuo Furuhata
The Man Unknown Kōsaku Yamashita [15]
Shin Abashiri Bangaichi: Fubuki no Dai-Dassou Shinichi Tsukibana Yasuo Furuhata
Showa zankyo-den: hoero karajishi Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Shin abashiri bangaichi: Arashi yobu shiretoko-misaki Shinichi Tsukibana Yasuo Furuhata
Nihon kyokaku-den: Dosu Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Nihon jokyo-den: ketto midare-bana Unknown Kôsaku Yamashita
1972 Junko intai kinen eiga: Kantô hizakura ikka Kuramoto Masahiro Makino
Shin abashiri bangaichi: arashi yobu danpu jingi Shinichi Tsukibana Yasuo Furuhata
Showa zankyo-den: Yabure-gasa Unknown Kiyoshi Saeki
Bokyo Komori-uta Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
Bakuchi-uchi Gaiden Unknown Kôsaku Yamashita
1973 Gendai ninkyô-shi Ryoichi Shimaya Teruo Ishii
Golgo 13 Golgo 13 Junya Sato
Yamaguchi-gumi Sandaime Kazuo Taoka Kōichi Saitō
1974 San-daime Shumei Unknown Shigehiro Ozawa
The Homeless Joukichi Kōichi Saitō
The Yakuza Ken Tanaka Sydney Pollack American film
1975 Nihon ninkyo-do: gekitotsu-hen Ichizo Ryuzaki Kôsaku Yamashita
Daidatsugoku Ichiro Kozue Teruo Ishii
The Bullet Train Tetsuo Okita Junya Sato
Kobe Kokusai Gang Masato Dan Noboru Tanaka
1976 Yasagure Keiji Unknown Yûsuke Watanabe
Kimi yo Fundo no Kawa o Watare Unknown Junya Sato
1977 Mount Hakkoda Captain Tokushima Shirō Moritani [16]
The Yellow Handkerchief Yusaku Shima Yoji Yamada [17]
1978 Fuyu no hana Hidetsugu Kano Yasuo Furuhata
Never Give Up Takeshi Ajisawa Junya Sato
1980 Dōran Keisuke Miyagi Shirō Moritani [18]
A Distant Cry from Spring Kōsaku Tajima Yoji Yamada [19]
1981 Station Eiji Mikami Yasuo Furuhata
1982 Keiji monogatari Detective Mikami Yûsuke Watanabe
Kaikyô Go Akutsu Shirô Moritani
1983 Antarctica Akira Ushioda Koreyoshi Kurahara [20]
Izakaya Chōji Chōji Yasuo Furuhata
1985 Yasha Shūji Yasuo Furuhata
1988 Umi e Unknown Koreyoshi Kurahara
1989 Black Rain Assistant Inspector Masahiro "Mas" Matsumoto Ridley Scott American film
Aun Shūzō Kadokura Yasuo Furuhata
1992 Mr. Baseball Uchiyama Fred Schepisi American film
1994 47 Ronin Ōishi Kuranosuke Kon Ichikawa
1998 See You Honma Koreyoshi Kurahara
1999 Railroad Man Otomatsu Satō Yasuo Furuhata
2001 The Firefly Yamaoka Shûji Yasuo Furuhata
2005 Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles Gou-Ichi Takata Zhang Yimou Chinese film
2012 Dearest Eiji Kurashima Yasuo Furuhata His final film role

Honours[edit]

Takakura (far right) received the Order of Culture on November 5, 2013.
  • 2013

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Thomas, Kevin (13 October 1989). "Takakura: 'Black Rain' Star Finds His Place in the Sun : Movies: The veteran of nearly 200 Japanese films is likely to gain greater international fame from this one, atypical performance". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Cinema Star Takakura Ken Passes Away at 83". Nippon.com. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e Macy, Roger (18 November 2014). "Ken Takakura obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  4. ^ a b Hoover, William D. (2011). Historical dictionary of postwar Japan. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 301. ISBN 978-0810854604.
  5. ^ a b Mayer, Geoff (2012). Historical dictionary of crime films. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. pp. 359–360. ISBN 978-0810867697.
  6. ^ "China mourns death of Japanese actor Takakura". Yahoo! News. Yahoo! News. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  7. ^ Sharp, Jasper (2011). Historical dictionary of Japanese cinema. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. pp. 232–234. ISBN 978-0810875418.
  8. ^ "Veteran Japanese actor Ken Takakura dies at 83". BBC News. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  9. ^ "Ken Takakura, Japanese star and Black Rain actor, dead at 83". CBC. 18 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  10. ^ "日本男星高仓健去世引众星悼念 姚晨:别了杜秋". ent.ifeng.com. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  11. ^ "2014年11月18日外交部发言人洪磊主持例行记者会". www.fmprc.gov.cn. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  12. ^ Brasor, Philip (16 July 2016). "Why Japanese media still kowtow to Ken Takakura". The Japan Times. The Japan Times. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  13. ^ Deleon, Alex. "KEN SAN, A towering documentary from Japan was thinly Attended at Cannes". FilmFestivals. M21 Entertainment. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  14. ^ "飢餓海峡". Movie Walker. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  15. ^ "任侠列伝 男". Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, Inc. Retrieved November 9, 2020.
  16. ^ "八甲田山". Movie Walker. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  17. ^ "幸福の黄色いハンカチ". Movie Walker. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  18. ^ "動乱". eiga.com. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  19. ^ "遙かなる山の呼び声". eiga.com. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  20. ^ "南極物語(1983)". eiga.com. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  21. ^ "Nippon Akademī-shō kōshiki saito" 日本アカデミー賞公式サイト (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize Association. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Dai 37 kai Nippon Akademī-shō kōshiki saito" 第37回日本アカデミー賞協会栄誉賞 [37th Japan Academy Prize List] (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize Association. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
  23. ^ "Burū Ribon-shō rekidai jushō ichiran" ブルーリボン賞歴代受賞一覧 [Blue Ribbon Awards Previous Winners List]. Cinema Hochi (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Archived from the original on 3 February 2013. Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  24. ^ Nakada, Ayako; Shima, Yasuhiko (4 November 2013). "Actor Ken Takakura among 5 presented with top culture award". Asahi Shimbun. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2014.

External links[edit]