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Ken Watanabe

Ken Watanabe gained worldwide recognition and a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination in 2004 for his memorable portrayal of Katsumoto, the warrior in Edward Zwick's 2003 epic The Last Samurai, opposite Tom Cruise. Watanabe also received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for that film, which marked his Hollywood film debut.

Watanabe most recently starred opposite Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh and Gon Li in Rob Marshall's adaptation of Arthur Golden's critically acclaimed best-selling novel, Memoirs of a Geisha. He also joined Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Michael Caine in 2005's Batman Begins, playing the immortal criminal genius Ra's Al Ghul for director Christopher Nolan.

Watanabe began his career with the Tokyo-based theater company En. His lead performance in the company's production of Shitaya-Mannen-cho Monogatari, directed by Yukio Ninagawa, caught the attention of critics and the Japanese public alike. He also starred in the international comedy hit Tampopo (1985), directed by Juzo Itami. He made his television debut with Michinaru Hanran (Unknown Rebellion) (TBS), in 1982. His formidable screen presence in the Samurai drama series Dokuganryu Masamume (NHK), led to additional roles in historical shows, such as Oda Nobunaga (NHK) and Chushingura (TBS), and the film Bakumatsu Junjou Den (1991).

Other credits include Ikebukuro West Gate Park (TBS), Space Travelers and Oboreru Sakana (Drowning Fish) (2001). In February 2003, Watanabe was seen in Shin Jinginaki Tatakai/Bosatsu (Fight Without Loyalty/Murder), an updated version of the popular Yakuza movie series.

Watanabe presently stars in the Japanese film Memories of Tomorrow, which premiered on November 2nd at the AFI Film Festival.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Ken Watanabe Facts

BirthdayOctober 21, 1959 (63)
BirthplaceKoide, Japan
Social Media Watanabe

Selected Filmography

Not available.