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|Born||21 November 1933|
|Died||23 October 2016 (aged 82)|
Setagaya, Tokyo, Japan
Yoshiko Sakuma (m. 1970–1984)
Mikijirō Hira (平 幹二朗 Hira Mikijirō, 21 November 1933 – 23 October 2016) was a Japanese actor. Starting as a stage actor in the 1950s, he also worked in film and television and was active until the time of his death. From the 1970s he starred in several of Yukio Ninagawa's productions, including an acclaimed role as Macbeth. Described as "Japan's best Shakespearean actor", Hira received several awards throughout his career, including an excellence award at the 2011 National Arts Festival hosted by the Japanese government's Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Hira was born in Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan. After graduating from Joge High School in Jōge, Hiroshima Prefecture, he studied at the training school of the Haiyuza Theatre Company and officially joined the company in 1956. One of his early roles was in a production of Goethe's Faust.
Hira's television debut in the 1963 series Three Outlaw Samurai, in which he played a nihilistic masterless samurai, saw his popularity rise. In 1968 he played Hamlet in a Shiki Theatre Company, a role which received very high reviews.
Hira's stage performances were heralded throughout his career. In 2009, Tokyo University professor emeritus of English literature Yushi Odashima described Hira as Japan's best Shakesperean actor, noting the incandescence he brought to his roles as mythical characters. The range in his performance as King Lear, from solemnness to madness, was praised by Kindai University professor and theatre critic Kojin Nishido. An obituary by the Chunichi Shimbun identified Hira's special ability to deliver profound performances and his high-toned delivery of lines.
Hira married actress Yoshiko Sakuma in 1970 and they had a son, Takehiro, who was born in 1974 and is also an actor. The pair divorced in 1984. In 1998 Hira received a Medal of Honour from the Japanese government and in 2005 he was appointed to the Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class.
On October 23, 2016, he died at his home in Setagaya, Tokyo at the age of 82. At the time of his death he had a role in Fuji Television's Monday night drama Cain and Abel, which was taken over by Akira Terao. Hira's final performance, in the second episode of Cain and Abel, was filmed on 29 September and aired on 24 October, shortly after his death. Hira also had a role in NHK's production of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. Filming of the second season finished earlier in 2016 and is scheduled to be screened in January 2017. In the third season, to be screened in November 2017, Hira's character will be played by Takeshi Kaga.
|1963–1969||Three Outlaw Samurai||Einosuke Kikyo||Fuji|
|1970||Mominoki wa Nokotta||Kai Harada||NHK||Taiga drama|
|1973||Kunitori Monogatari||Saitō Dōsan||NHK||Taiga drama|
|1979||Fumō Chitai||Tadashi Iki||TBS|
|1988||Takeda Shingen||Takeda Nobutora||NHK||Taiga drama|
|2001||Hōjō Tokimune||Hōjō Shigetoki||NHK||Taiga drama|
|2005||Yoshitsune||Emperor Go-Shirakawa||NHK||Taiga drama|
|2007||Mito Kōmon||Tokugawa Mitsusada||TBS|
|2008||Atsuhime||Zusho Hirosato||NHK||Taiga drama|
|2014||Team Medical Dragon||Shuzō Sakurai||Fuji|
|2016||Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Season 1)||Hibitonan||NHK|||
|2016||Shizumanu Taiyō||The Prime Minister Tonegawa||WOWOW|
|2016||Cain and Abel (Episodes 1-2)||Sōichirō Takada||Fuji||Final role|||
|2016||Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Season 2)||Hibitonan||NHK|||
- Antony and Cleopatra
- Cyrano de Bergerac
- King Lear
- The Merchant of Venice
- NINAGAWA Macbeth
- Oedipus Rex
- Richard III
- The Tempest
- The Threepenny Opera
- Twelfth Night
- The Winter's Tale
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) – King Kashekim Nedakh
Awards and honours
2008: Asahi Performing Arts Awards - Artist Award (for his performances in King Lear and Yama no Kyojintachi)
- Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon (1998)
- Order of the Rising Sun, 4th Class, Gold Rays with Rosette (2005)
- "選考委員の講評" [Selection Committee Members' Reviews] (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "平成23年度（第66回） 文化庁芸術祭賞受賞一覧（参加公演）" [2011 (66th) Agency for Cultural Affairs National Arts Festival List of Awardees (Participating Performances)] (PDF) (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. p. 11. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "平幹二朗さん死去 ８２歳 「蜷川マクベス」名演" [Mikijiro Hira, star of "Minagawa Macbeth" dead at 82] (in Japanese). Chunichi Shinbun. 24 October 2016. Archived from the original on 24 October 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "平幹二朗" [Mikijirō Hira] (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "平幹二朗さん代役に寺尾聰！「カインと－」主人公の祖父役で第４話から登場" [Mikijirō Hira's replacement is Akira Terao! Will appear as main character's grandfather from 4th episode of "Cain and"]. Sankei Sports (in Japanese). 31 October 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "平幹二朗さん最後の出演シーンで視聴率上昇「カインとアベル」第２話の平均視聴率８・６％" [Mikijirō Hira's final scene increases ratings: Second episode of "Cain and Abel" averages 8.6%]. Hochi Shimbun (in Japanese). 25 October 2016. Archived from the original on 31 October 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "平幹二朗さん代役に鹿賀丈史「想い受け継ぎ、魂込めて」 ＮＨＫ「精霊の守り人」" [Takeshi Kaga to replace Mikijirō Hira in NHK's "Moribito"]. Daily Sports (in Japanese). 31 October 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
- "Asahi Performing Arts Awards 2008" (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun. 30 January 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2016.