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Tadanobu Asano

Tadanobu Asano

Asano Tadanobu (born Sato Tadanobu on November 27, 1973 in Yokohama) is a charismatic and versatile Japanese actor who has been described by critics as that country's answer to Johnny Depp.

Born to a half-American mother, his fair complexion and lighter-than-black eyes drew him qualifiably different attentions from his male and female schoolmates. His father, an actors' agent, suggested he take on what became his first role, in the TV show Kimpachi Sensei, at the age of 16. His film debut was in the 1990 Swimming Upstream (Bataashi Kingyo; 1990), though his first major critical success was in Iwai Shunji's Fried Dragon Fish (1993). His first critical success internationally was Koreeda Hirokazu'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. His best known works internationally are the samurai films Gohatto (1999) and Zatôichi (2003). It was on the set of Iwai's Picnic (1996) that he met and fell in love with J-Pop idol Chara. They married soon after learning she was pregnant with their first child, Sumile (Sumire- violet, or 'smile').

While best known for characters who are psychologically offbeat, if not downright psychotic (e.g. Kakihara in Ichi the Killer (2001)), Asano is described by those who know him as a down-to-earth family man. He has directed commercial TV spots for Chara, and manages to find time to take Sumile and his son, Himi, to the zoo. Hesistant to identify himself as an actor, he most readily describes himself as a vocalist, referring to Mach 1.67, the band he has with director Ishii Sogo. He's also an artist, and a model, most notably for the Japanese designers Kikuchi Takeo (for whom he filmed a series of commercial spots directed by Wong Kar-wai) and Takahashi Jun.

The profiligacy of his film career is due in part to the fact that he no longer appears in TV programmes, which in Japan are more lucrative than film work.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2004.

Tadanobu Asano Facts

Birth NameTadanobu Satô
BirthdayNovember 27, 1973 (47)
BirthplaceYokohama, Japan
Height5' 10" (1m78)  How tall is Tadanobu Asano compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Thor: The Dark World
47 Ronin
Ichi the Killer
Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan
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