Actor Watanabe Ken

Ken Watanabe is a Japanese stage, film, and television actor. To English-speaking audiences he is known for playing tragic hero characters, such as General Tadamichi Kuribayashi in Letters from Iwo Jima and Lord Katsumoto Moritsugu in The Last Samurai, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Among other awards, he has won the Japan Academy Prize for Best Actor twice, in 2007 for Memories of Tomorrow and in 2010 for Shizumanu Taiyō. He is also known for his roles in director Christopher Nolan's Hollywood blockbusters Batman Begins and Inception.After graduating from high school in 1978, Watanabe moved to Tokyo to begin his acting career, getting his big break with the Tokyo-based theater troupe En. While with the troupe, he was cast as the hero in the play Shimodani Mannencho Monogatari, under Yukio Ninagawa's direction. The role attracted critical and popular notice.In 1989, while filming Haruki Kadokawa's Heaven and Earth, Watanabe was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. He returned to acting while simultaneously undergoing chemotherapy treatments, but in 1991 suffered a relapse.As his health improved his career picked back up. He co-starred with Koji Yakusho in the 1998 Kizuna, for which he was nominated for the Japanese Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.Watanabe was introduced to most Western audiences by the 2003 film The Last Samurai. His performance as Katsumoto earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.Watanabe appeared in the 2005 films Batman Begins, playing Ra's Al Ghul, and Memoirs of a Geisha, playing Chairman Iwamura. In 2006, he starred in Clint Eastwood's Letters from Iwo Jima, playing Tadamichi Kuribayashi. He reprised his role as Ra's Al Ghul in the Batman Begins video game. He has filmed advertisements for American Express, Yakult, and NTT DoCoMo. In 2004, he was featured in People Magazine 's 50 Most Beautiful People edition. In 2009, he appeared in The Vampire's Assistant. In 2010, he co-starred in Inception, playing Saito.In 2005 Watanabe married Japanese actress Kaho Minami. His first wife was Yumiko Watanabe. With Yumiko, Watanabe has a son, Dai Watanabe (born 1984), and a daughter, Anne Watanabe (born 1986). His son Dai is an up-and-coming actor in Japan. Dai is married and has two children. His daughter Anne is currently a fashion model.[Wikipedia]

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