Ken Watanabe (WATANABE Ken / 渡辺謙 / わたなべ けん) is a Japanese actor, born on Wednesday, October 21, 1959, in Koide, Niigata, Japan.
Star sign: Libra
Blood type: A
Family: Wife/actress Minami Kaho, son/actor Watanabe Dai, and daughter/model Watanabe Anne (both from a previous relationship)
Children: son, actor Dai Watanabe (born August 1st 1984) and daughter, Anne (born 1986).
Already extremely tall by Japanese standards, he gained a good amount of weight (about 20 pounds) to be an even more imposing presence for his role as Katsumoto in "The Last Samurai."
One of eight actors of Asian descent nominated for an Academy Award in an acting category. The others are Miyoshi Umeki who won Best Supporting Actress for Sayonara (1957), Sessue Hayakawa nominated for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Mako nominated for The Sand Pebbles (1966), Ben Kingsley who won Best Actor for Gandhi (1982), Haing S. Ngor who won Best Supporting Actor for The Killing Fields (1984), Pat Morita nominated for The Karate Kid (1984), and Rinko Kikuchi nominated for Babel (2006).
Was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 1989. Since then he had fallen ill only once in 1994, but is now a fully recovered actor.
As an actor:
2010 Hei no naka no chûgakkô
2010 Inception as Saito
2010 Tômawari no ame
2009 Saka no ue no kumo
2009 Shizumanu taiyô
2009 Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant as Mr. Tall
2009 Keiji ichidai: Hiratsuka Hachibei no Shôwa jiken shi
«He has a good reputation for his roles in Samurai movies. Especially "Gokenin Zankuro" ,which lasted 5 series, must be one of his most important works. In the last and 50th episode he even directed and starred himself. His innovative direction also became a topic.of discussion. Another work which should be mentioned is "Mibugishiden". It was a 10-hour samurai TV drama that aired on January 2nd, 2002. This touching story and his incredible performance moved a lot of viewers to tears and created sensation.
Currently Ken aggressively continues to make good works and enjoys playing distinct personalities such as a serious cop, a typical Japanese office worker, a violent gangster, a cool and attractive samurai, a dignified feudal lord, a charismatic Heian-period nobleman, .a sharp professional soldier like a razor blade and a Hojo regency of dignity and monarchy. His costume-play is also worth watching. He continues his active career today as one of the few contemporary actors with a broad range of works. He is literally one of the most recognized Japanese actors now in Japan and so will be in the world soon. Further successes in many fields are expected.»
«He has a good reputation for his roles in Samurai movies. Especially "Gokenin Zankuro" ,which lasted 5 series, must be one of his most important works. In the last and 50th episode he even directed and starred himself. His innovative direction also became a topic.of discussion. Another work which sh...»