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Selected Biography Koji YAKUSHO


Born January 1, 1956 in Isahaya city, Nagasaki prefecture in Japan.


In 1983, appeared in NHK’s weekly prime-time period TV drama, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and played the role of Nobunaga ODA, a charismatic warlord of the 16th century, with which he was widely noticed and obtained his popularity.


In 1985, appeared in Tampopo, a film directed by Juzo ITAMI, followed with many other TV dramas and movies.


Then in 1995, won the best actor prize from Mainichi Film Awards with his starred Kamikaze Taxi directed by Masato HARADA.


In 1996, starred in Shall we Dance?, Sleeping Man: Nemuru Otoko and Shabu Gokudo. With these films, a total of fourteen film awards are granted for his performance in leading roles. Also received several international film awards, such as with CURE (1997) in the Tokyo International Film Festival, and Warm Water Under the Red Bridge (2001) in Chicago International Film Festival. Remarkable number of his works had participated in various international film festivals, and The Eel (1997), won the Palm d’Or and EUREKA (2001) achieved the prize of the Ecumenical Jury in Cannes Film Festival.


In 2005, with his presence in SAYURI and Babel in 2006, received high claims from the international audience.


His contribution to film industry has been praised internationally; received "Homage" at the Valencienne Film Festival in 2003, and granted "Tribute" at the Deauville Asian Film Festival in France for his past performances in Asian films.  In 2012, was granted Cut Above for outstanding performance in film from Japan Society in New York, and then Career Achievement Award from Hawaii International Film Festival.  In 2017, received the Nippon Honor Award at the 17th Nippon Connection Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany, as well as the Cinema Legend Award at the Singapore International Film Festival.  In 2019 he was granted Excellence in Asian Cinema Award and the best male actor with Koro no Chi, in the 13th Asian Film Awards.  Other international awards include; the best male actor’s award with Walking My Life in Film Madrid in Spain, then in Debai Film Festival 2011 with The Woodsman and the Rain and in Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantàstic de Catalunya 2014 with Kawaki. 


Made his debut as a film director in 2009,
with Toad’s Oil in which he also played the leading role.


In 2012, had an honor to receive "Shiju hosho" (a medal of honor with purple ribbon) from emperor of Japan for his "outstanding achievement in the creative field."


In recent years, continue to appear in various films, such as Sekigahara (2017), The Third Murder (2017), and Koro no chi (2018), which he won the Best Male Actor in the 42nd Japan Academy prize. In 2014, Kinema Junpo, the leading Japanese film magazine, had ranked him in 2014 as the top 8 actors in the history of Japanese films, among other prominent old stars; he was solely selected for the living actor.


The most recent and upcoming films are the Wings Over Everest, directed by Fay Yu, which will be on view internationally in 2019, and TOUGE: saigo no Samurai, directed by Takashi Koizumi in 2020. Also takes part in the NHK’s annual TV drama series Idaten: Tokyo Olympic banashi, which is now broadcasted.