Ken Watanabe was born on 21st October 1959 in Niigata, Japan. He is a Japanese actor by profession and is well known for his tragic hero character in “The Last Samurai”. His mother is a house maker, and a school teacher, and his father is a calligraphy artist. His parents had numerous transfers, so Ken travelled to different places during his childhood. He received his primary education from Niigata Prefectural Koide High School and played for the local band there. Ken wanted to learn music and aimed at attending a conservatory in Japan, but his father passed away while he was in his high school so he was unable to pay for the tuition and could not concentrate on work.
In 1978, Ken left Niigata and moved to Tokyo to pursue his career in acting and soon achieved his big break and was included in a theatre group in Tokyo where he played the lead role which brought him critical appreciation and made him popular among the audience. In 1982, Ken made his debut on Television with Michinaru Hanran, and he received immense fan following and became a well known Television Actor. After two years from his debut on TV, he was offered a lead role in MacArthur’s Children. He is famous in Japan for his samurai role in many movies, television series and for many theatre roles. In 1989, Ken suffered from leukemia and was diagnosed while he was filming for “Heaven and Earth”. Ken was a part of '
Christopher Nolan' directed movie "Batman Begins" where he played as one of the decoys of Ra’s Al Ghul troop and in “
Inception” which is the story about dream stealers who tries to steal and change of a reputed entrepreneur for their benefit. The film grossed $825 million worldwide and was acclaimed for its concept and idea of direction. In accordance to his career, Ken also lends his voice for "Transformers: Age of Extinction" and the upcoming "Transformers: The Last Knight" where he is vocalizing for Drift, the Autobot, who was once a Decepticon.
Ken married Yumiko in 1983 and had two children with her, but their marriage could not last long, and they soon got divorced in 2005. The actor later got involved with ‘Kaho Minami’ and married her and adopted her son. Ken became a grandfather when his son Dai had his son. He is presently suffering from stomach cancer and put his projects on hold until the treatment goes well. His upcoming project includes "Anger" and Transformers: The Last Knight.
Another Version Of This Bio:
Born in Koide, Niigata, Ken Watanabe is a Japanese actor, who graduated from high school and soon enough shifted to the city of Tokyo to initiate his career in acting. He bagged the opportunity with a theatre cluster residing in Tokyo called, “En”, and while he was with this theater group, he also snagged a role in one of the plays named, “Shimodani Mannencho Monogatari”. He got the kind of role that was an audience-magnet. Further, in the year 1982, he starred in the television show, “Michinaru Hanran” and then marked another attendance in “Mibu no koiuta” as a samurai.
He also starred in the feature film, “MacAurther’s Children”. Ken Watanabe is popularly identified in Japan for mastering the character of a samurai, given that he’s played one in numerous projects namely, “DokuganryuMasamune” (One eyed dragon), “Jidaigeki GokeninZankuro”, “Oda Nobunaga”, “Chushingura” etc. In the year 1989, he was unfortunately diagnosed with “acute myelogenous leukaemia” by one of the doctors; this was during the time he was filming for the movie, “Heaven and Earth”. He made a comeback to his profession, proving to be resilient by simultaneously taking chemo therapy sessions.
With the recovery of his health, in came another one of his movies called, “Kizuna”, for which he earned the nomination of Japanese Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Another movie called, “SennenKoNoi” made him acquire another nomination at the Japanese Academy Award. In the year 2006, he finally bagged a Japanese Academy Award for the movie, “Memories of Tomorrow”, in which he had to depict a patient suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The international audience started to recognise his acting abilities with the movie, “The Last Samurai”.
People loved him so much that he bagged an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Then in the year 2005, he was featured in “Memories of a Geisha”. He has been a part of many movies directed by some of the world’s greatest directors namely, Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins”, Clint Eastwood’s “Letters from Iwo Jima”, Christopher Nolan’s “Inception”, “
Godzilla” etc. He has been in numerous advertising campaigns such as, “Yakult”, “Cannon”, “
American Express”, “NTT DoCoMo” etc. In the year 2006, Ken exposed in his autobiography, “Who Am I?” that he is suffering from Hepatitis C, even though it was also mentioned that his condition wasn’t that bad. Also, in the year 2016, it was enunciated that Ken had stomach cancer and would have to delay all the arranged performances to get the essential treatments.