Ken Watanabe

  • Birth Name: Kensaku Watanabe
  • Birth Place: Koide, Niigata, Japan
  • Profession: Actor
Where to Watch

Available to Stream

  • Watch on

Next on TV

Fast Facts

  • Breakout role in Japan came with the popular 1985 comedy Tompopo (Dandelion).
  • Was diagnosed with leukemia in 1989 but continued to act while undergoing chemotherapy; suffered a relapse in 1994 that kept him in the hospital for more than a year.
  • Made his American film debut in the 2003 epic The Last Samurai.
  • In 2005, began treatment for hepatitis C, contracted while undergoing blood transfusions during his first bout of leukemia.
  • Released an autobiography, Dare? Who Am I?, in 2006 in Japan.
  • Took a leadership role in efforts to assist victims of the 2011 earthquake in Japan.
  • It was announced in 2012 that he would take part in a documentary about Japan's earthquake relief efforts.
  • Active in efforts to battle climate change.


  • 2004, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 2019, Olivier Awards — Best Actor in a Musical: Nominee
  • 2003, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 2015, Tony — Actor (Musical): Nominee
  • 2003, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 2004, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actor: Nominee


  • An Watanabe — Daughter
  • Yumiko Watanabe — Ex-wife
  • Shin Shinitiro — Son
  • Kaho Minami — Wife

Quiz: What Should You Binge Next on Netflix?

Skip the endless scroll! Find out what you really want to watch.

Rod Serling, <em>The Twilight Zone</em>

The 15 Twilight Zone Episodes That Aged the Best

... and where to stream them.

My News

Sign up and add shows to get the latest updates about your favorite shows - Start Now