Asano at the world premiere of Thor
November 27, 1973
Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
He is known for his roles as Dragon Eye Morrison in Electric Dragon 80.000 V, Kakihara in Ichi the Killer, Mamoru Arita in Bright Future, Hattori Genosuke in Zatoichi, Kenji in Last Life in the Universe, Aman in Survive Style 5+, Ayano in The Taste of Tea, Temudjin in Mongol, Captain Yugi Nagata in Battleship, Lord Kira Yoshinaka in the 47 Ronin, and Hogun in Thor, based on the Marvel Comics character.
Asano was born in the Honmoku area of Yokohama to artist Yukihisa Satō (佐藤 幸久 Satō Yukihisa?) and mother Junko (順子) whose father was Willard Overing, a U.S. citizen, whom Asano never met. He has Norwegian and Dutch ancestry through this maternal grandfather. Asano has an older brother, Kujun Satō, born in 1971, who is a musician and a partner in Anore Inc., a talent agency Asano and their father Yukihisa Satō founded.
His father, an actors' agent, suggested he take on his first acting role in the TV show Kinpachi Sensei at the age of 16. His film debut was in the 1990 Swimming Upstream (Bataashi Kingyo), though his first major critical success was in Shunji Iwai's Fried Dragon Fish (1993). His first critical success internationally was Hirokazu Koreeda's Maboroshi no Hikari (1995), in which he played a man who inexplicably throws himself in front of a train, widowing his wife and orphaning his infant son. He also worked with Koreeda in the pseudo-documentary Distance in 2001. His best known works internationally are the samurai films Gohatto (aka Taboo, 1999) and Zatoichi (2003), as well as the critically acclaimed Bright Future.
He acted in Katsuhito Ishii's 2003 film The Taste of Tea, which premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. He appeared as the lead actor in Last Life in the Universe (2003) by Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and starred in a follow-up film by Pen-Ek, Invisible Waves, in 2006. In 2007 he starred as the young Genghis Khan in Sergei Bodrov's Oscar-nominated film Mongol. In Villon's Wife (2009), he played the part of an alcoholic writer; he has stated that since he doesn't drink alcohol, he based his performance on people he knows, a lot of whom drink. In 2011, he starred in the Marvel Studios film Thor as the Asgardian warrior Hogun, a member of the Warriors Three and companion to Thor. He reprised the role in 2013's Thor: The Dark World.
In addition to his acting career, Asano directed commercial TV spots for his then-wife, Chara. He is a musician; he formed the band MACH-1.67 with director Sogo Ishii in 1996 and, from time to time, plays in the bands Peace Pill and Safari. He is an artist and a model, most notably for Japanese fashion designers Jun Takahashi and Takeo Kikuchi, for whom he filmed a series of commercial spots directed by Wong Kar-wai: one released under the name "wkw/tk/1996@7'55"hk.net".
Asano met J-Pop idol Chara on the set of Iwai's Picnic (1994). They were married in March 1995 and Chara became pregnant with their first child, Sumire, who was born on July 4. In 1999, they also had a son. In July 2009, Chara announced on her website that the couple would be getting an amicable divorce. She received custody of both their children.
He won the Most Popular Performer award at the 1997 Japanese Academy Awards for Acri and was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category in 2004 for his performance in Zatôichi. He also received the Upstream Prize for Best Actor at the 2003 Venice Film Festival for his role in Last Life in the Universe. In 2014 he won the award for Best Actor at the 36th Moscow International Film Festival for his role in My Man.
|1988||Kinpachi-sensei||Satō Tadanobu||TV series|
|1992||Seishun Dendekedekedeke||Seiichi Shirai|
|1993||Fried Dragon Fish||Natsuro||TV movie|
|Haru no Ichizoku||TV series|
|Nemuranai machi - Shinjuku same||Sajo|
|1995||Yonshimai Monogatari||Akira Higuchi|
|Swallowtail Butterfly||Customer in club|
|1997||Yume no Ginga||Tatsuo Niitaka|
|1998||Love & Pop||Captain XX|
|Shark Skin Man and Peach Hip Girl||Kuroo Samehada|
|Rakka Suru Yugata|
|1999||San Tiao Ren||Asano|
|Away with Words|
|Gemini||Revenger with Sword|
|One Step on a Mine, It's All Over||Taizo Ichinose|
|Gohatto (aka Taboo)||Samurai Hyozo Tashiro|
|2000||Gojoe: Spirit War Chronicle||Shanao|
|Party 7||Okita Souji|
|2001||Electric Dragon 80.000 V||Dragon Eye Morrison|
|Ichi the Killer||Kakihara|
|2002||Woman of Water||Yusaku|
|2003||Bright Future||Mamoru Arita|
|My Grandpa||S. Nakatoh|
|Last Life in the Universe||Kenji|
|Dead End Run|
|Café Lumière||Hajime Takeuchi|
|The Taste of Tea||Ayano, the Uncle|
|The Face of Jizo||Kinoshita|
|Survive Style 5+||Aman|
|2005||The Buried Forest||San-chan|
|My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?||Mizui|
|Portrait of the Wind||Tamio Murase|
|Funky Forest||Masaru Tanaka|
|Rampo Noir||Private detective Kogorô Akechi/A man/Masaki|
|Sad Vacation||Kenji Shiraishi|
|2008||Kabei: Our Mother||Yamazaki Toru|
|Yume no Mani Mani||Black Marketeer|
|2009||42 One Dream Rush||short film|
|Vengeance Can Wait||Hidenori Yamane|
|2011||Gekkō no Kamen||Okamoto|
|Korede Iinoda! Eiga Akatsuka Fujio||Fujio Akatsuka|
|Once in a Blue Moon|
|Sutekina Kakushi Dori: Kanzen Muketsu no Concierge||TV movie|
|Yonimo kimyô na Monogatari||Killer||TV movie|
|2012||Battleship||Captain Yugi Nagata|
|A Terminal Trust|
|Fly with the Gold||Kitagawa|
|2013||Thor: The Dark World||Hogun|
|47 Ronin||Lord Kira|
|The Kiyosu Conference||Maeda Toshiie|
|2014||Lupin III||Inspector Koichi Zenigata|
|Kiki's Delivery Service||Dr. Ishi|
|Parasyte: Part 1||Goto|
|2015||Parasyte: Part 2||Goto|
|Journey to the Shore|
- Keanu's 47 Ronin has A-List Japanese Cast Japan-Zone.com 2 March 2011
- "Tokyo Psycho". Time Magazine. October 21, 2002. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
- "Profile: Kujun". anore Inc. Retrieved 2012-11-30.
- Golovnina, Maria (January 25, 2008). "Mongol actress from soldier dreams to Oscar buzz". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 10 November 2008.
- Hadfield, James (July 7, 2011). "Tadanobu Asano: The Interview". Time Out Tokyo. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
- "Thor Update: Warriors Three Cast". Marvel.com. 2009-11-16. Retrieved 2009-11-16.
- Clark, Noelene (2012-08-02). "‘Thor: The Dark World’: Christopher Eccleston is villain Malekith". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2012-08-22. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- Donat, Begoña (January 30, 2004). "Johnny Depp tiene un primo japonés (Johnny Depp has a Japanese Cousin)" (in Spanish). El Mundo. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
- Mes, Tom (June 24, 2002). "Tadanobu Asano". Midnight Eye. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
- Wallace, Bruce (June 13, 2008). "12th century leader, 21st century ideas". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
- "Tadanobu Asano, Chara divorce". Tokyograph. July 24, 2009. Retrieved 17 October 2009.
- Riggs, Thomas (2007). Contemporary Theatre, Film & Television. Gale Cengage Learning. p. 7. ISBN 0-7876-9050-3.
- "36 MIFF Prizes". MIFF. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- Morris, Jerome C. "I’m Not as Whacked Out as Dragon Eye Morrison" (interview), in Asian Cult Cinema, #54.
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