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Ken Watanabe Biography

Birth Name:
Kensaku Watanabe
Birth Place:
Koide, Niigata, Japan
Profession
Actor

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

Awards

  • 2004Golden Globe-Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: nominated
  • 2004Critics' Choice Awards-Best Supporting Actor: nominated
  • 2003Screen Actors Guild Awards-Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role: nominated
  • 2003Oscar-Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: nominated

Relationships

  • An Watanabe--Daughter
  • Anne Watanabe--Daughter
  • Kaho Minami--Ex-wife
  • Yumiko Watanabe--Ex-wife
  • Dai Watanabe--Son
  • Shin Shinitiro--Son