Kensaku Watanabe

Watanabe Ken

  • Name: Watanabe Ken
  • Native name: 渡辺謙
  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Gender: Male
  • Born: October 21, 1959
  • Age: 64
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 has 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.

In March 2017, 'Shukan Bunshun' reported that Watanabe was having an affair with a woman 21 years his junior.
In July 2017 he held a press conference and apologized for having the affair.
On May 17, 2018 he announced that he and actress Minami Kaho have divorced.

On June 30, 2023 he announced his third marriage to a woman who is 21 years his junior. They met back in 2013 and started dating shortly after. Edit Biography
Director
Year Title Type Rating
2001 Gokenin Zankuro Season 5
Drama
0.0
Screenwriter & Director
Year Title Type Rating
1989 Above the War
Movie
0.0
Executive Producer
Year Title Type Rating
2022 Tokyo Vice
Drama
8.1
Drama
Year Title # Role Rating
2025 Berabo: Tsuta Ju Eika Osamu Yume Hanashi
Japanese Drama, 2025, 0 eps
Tanuma Okitsugu (Main Role)
0
Tanuma Okitsugu
Main Role
0.0
2024 Tokyo Vice Season 2
Japanese Drama, 2024, 10 eps
Katagiri Hiroto (Support Role)
10
Katagiri Hiroto
Support Role
8.1
2022 Tokyo Vice
Japanese Drama, 2022, 8 eps
Katagiri Hiroto (Main Role)
8
Katagiri Hiroto
Main Role
8.1
2018 Sego-don
Japanese Drama, 2018, 47 eps
Shimazu Nariakira (Support Role)
47
Shimazu Nariakira
Support Role
8.2
2014 Oyaji no Senaka
Japanese Drama, 2014, 10 eps
Takamura Koji (Ep.7) (Main Role)
10
Takamura Koji (Ep.7)
Main Role
7.7
2012 Makete, Katsu
Japanese Drama, 2012, 5 eps
Yoshida Shigeru (Main Role)
5
Yoshida Shigeru
Main Role
9.5
2009 Saka no Ue no Kumo
Japanese Drama, 2009, 13 eps
[Narrator] (Support Role)
13
[Narrator]
Support Role
7.9
2004 Suna no Utsuwa
Japanese Drama, 2004, 11 eps
Imanishi Shuichiro (Main Role)
11
Main Role
7.7
2001 Gokenin Zankuro Season 5
Japanese Drama, 2001, 10 eps
Matsudaira Zankuro (Main Role)
10
Matsudaira Zankuro
Main Role
0.0
2001 Kochira Dai San Shakaibu
Japanese Drama, 2001, 11 eps
Shimizu Jiro (Main Role)
11
Shimizu Jiro
Main Role
0.0
2001 Hojo Tokimune
Japanese Drama, 2001, 49 eps
Hojo Tokiyori (Support Role)
49
Hojo Tokiyori
Support Role
7.0
2000 Ikebukuro West Gate Park
Japanese Drama, 2000, 11 eps
Yokoyama Ichirou (Support Role)
11
Support Role
8.1
1999 Kakegoto Joo
Japanese Drama, 1999, 20 eps
Zero (Support Role)
20
Zero
Support Role
0.0
1999 Gokenin Zankuro Season 4
Japanese Drama, 1999, 10 eps
Matsudaira Zankuro (Main Role)
10
Matsudaira Zankuro
Main Role
0.0
1997 Gokenin Zankuro Season 3
Japanese Drama, 1997, 11 eps
Matsudaira Zankuro (Main Role)
11
Matsudaira Zankuro
Main Role
0.0
1997 Gokenin Zankuro Season 2
Japanese Drama, 1997, 11 eps
Matsudaira Zankuro (Main Role)
11
Matsudaira Zankuro
Main Role
0.0
1996 Chuushingura
Japanese Drama, 1996, 10 eps
Wakisaka Awaji Mamoru (Support Role)
10
Wakisaka Awaji Mamoru
Support Role
4.0
1995 Gokenin Zankuro
Japanese Drama, 1995, 8 eps
Matsudaira Zankuro (Main Role)
8
Matsudaira Zankuro
Main Role
0.0
1993 Homura Tatsu
Japanese Drama, 1993, 35 eps
35
Main Role
7.5
1990 Baian: The Assassin
Japanese Drama, 1990, 8 eps
Fujieda Baian (Main Role)
8
Main Role
7.6
1989 Anata ga Hoshii
Japanese Drama, 1989, 10 eps
Koyama Tatsuo (Main Role)
10
Koyama Tatsuo
Main Role
3.0
1987 Dokuganryu Masamune
Japanese Drama, 1987, 50 eps
Date Masamune (Main Role)
50
Main Role
8.3
1986 Hanekonma
Japanese Drama, 1986, 156 eps
Onodera Genzo [Rin's husband] (Support Role)
156
Onodera Genzo [Rin's husband]
Support Role
7.8
1984 Transfer Girl Y
Japanese Drama, 1984, 12 eps
Murai Tetsuo (Support Role)
12
Murai Tetsuo
Support Role
8.0
Movie
Year Title Role Rating
2020 Fukushima 50
Japanese Movie, 2020,
Masao Yoshida (Main Role)
Main Role
7.6
2016 Anger
Japanese Movie, 2016,
Maki Yohei (Main Role)
Main Role
7.6
2013 Unforgiven
Japanese Movie, 2013,
Jubei Kamata (Main Role)
Main Role
7.4
2012 Hayabusa: The Long Voyage Home
Japanese Movie, 2012,
Main Role
0.0
2010 Shanghai
Chinese Movie, 2010,
(Main Role)
Main Role
7.1
2009 The Unbroken
Japanese Movie, 2009,
Onchi Hajime (Main Role)
Onchi Hajime
Main Role
7.3
2006 Letters from Iwo Jima
Japanese Movie, 2006,
General Kuribayashi (Main Role)
Main Role
8.2
2006 Memories Of Tomorrow
Japanese Movie, 2006,
Masayuki Saeki (Main Role)
Main Role
7.8
2005 Year One In The North
Japanese Movie, 2005,
Main Role
7.2
2003 T.R.Y.
Japanese Movie, 2003,
Azuma Masanobu (Support Role)
Azuma Masanobu
Support Role
2.0
2002 Dawn of a New Day: The Man Behind VHS
Japanese Movie, 2002,
Okubo (Support Role)
Okubo
Support Role
7.7
2001 Genji: A Thousand Year Love
Japanese Movie, 2001,
Fujiwara no Michinaga/Fujiwara no Nobutaka (Support Role)
Fujiwara no Michinaga/Fujiwara no Nobutaka
Support Role
7.3
2001 Oboreru Sakana
Japanese Movie, 2001,
Miyota (Support Role)
Miyota
Support Role
6.9
2000 Zawa Zawa Shimokitazawa
Japanese Movie, 2000,
Ishida (Support Role)
Ishida
Support Role
4.0
2000 Space Travelers
Japanese Movie, 2000,
Sakamaki ("Crusher") (Support Role)
Sakamaki ("Crusher")
Support Role
7.6
1998 Kizuna
Japanese Movie, 1998,
Sako Akio (Main Role)
Sako Akio
Main Role
5.5
1998 Tenamonya Trading Company
Japanese Movie, 1998,
[Section Chief] (Support Role)
[Section Chief]
Support Role
8.0
1997 Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald
Japanese Movie, 1997,
Onuki Raita [Truck driver] (Support Role)
Onuki Raita [Truck driver]
Support Role
8.1
1991 Bakumatsu Junjoden
Japanese Movie, 1991,
Sakamoto Ryoma (Main Role)
Sakamoto Ryoma
Main Role
4.0
1986 Sea and Poison
Japanese Movie, 1986,
Toda (Main Role)
Toda
Main Role
7.9
1986 The Making of "Tampopo"
Japanese Movie, 1986,
[Himself] (Support Role)
[Himself]
Support Role
0.0
1985 Tampopo
Japanese Movie, 1985,
Gun (Support Role)
Gun
Support Role
7.7
1985 Kekkon Annai Misuteri
Japanese Movie, 1985,
Main Role
7.0
1984 MacArthur's Children
Japanese Movie, 1984,
(Support Role)
Support Role
7.1
Special
Year Title # Role Rating
2024 Ikitoshi Ikerumono
Japanese Special, 2024, 1 eps
Naruse Sho (Main Role)
1
Naruse Sho
Main Role
7.5
2020 Special Wide Area Tracking Team - Forensic Investigator of Hitori Yogari
Japanese Special, 2020, 2 eps
Kazuki Kakurai (Support Role)
2
Kazuki Kakurai
Support Role
0.0
2020 Tobosha
Japanese Special, 2020, 2 eps
Kakurai Kazuki (Main Role)
2
Kakurai Kazuki
Main Role
8.0
2019 You're a Genius!
Japanese Special, 2019, 1 eps
1
Main Role
6.5
2019 An Artist of the Floating World
Japanese Special, 2019, 1 eps
Ono Masuji (Main Role)
1
Main Role
6.8
2017 Shiawase no Kioku
Japanese Special, 2017, 1 eps
Miura Taro (Main Role)
1
Main Role
7.6
2016 Gonenme no Hitori
Japanese Special, 2016, 1 eps
Shuji (Main Role)
1
Shuji
Main Role
6.0
2014 Hakugin Jack
Japanese Special, 2014, 1 eps
Kurata Reiji (Main Role)
1
Main Role
6.9
2011 Ai Inochi - Shinjuku Kabukicho Kakekomidera
Japanese Special, 2011, 1 eps
Hirayama Hidemori (Main Role)
1
Main Role
2.0
2010 A School Behind Bars
Japanese Special, 2010, 1 eps
Kawada Kibou (Support Role)
1
Kawada Kibou
Support Role
7.9
2007 Hoshi Hitotsu no Yoru
Japanese Special, 2007, 1 eps
Nonoyama Hiroji (Main Role)
1
Main Role
6.9
2004 Tenkirimatsu Dark Story
Japanese Special, 2004, 1 eps
(Support Role)
1
Support Role
2.0
2003 Ikebukuro West Gate Park SP
Japanese Special, 2003, 1 eps
Yokoyama Ichirou [Photo only] (Bit part)
1
Yokoyama Ichirou [Photo only]
Bit part
7.5
2003 Itan no Natsu
Japanese Special, 2003, 1 eps
Koki Tatsumi (Main Role)
1
Koki Tatsumi
Main Role
0.0
2001 Shimeitehai 4: Yamagata no Ginzan Onsen
Japanese Special, 2001, 1 eps
Imai Masayuki (Main Role)
1
Imai Masayuki
Main Role
0.0
2001 Ningen no Shomei 2001
Japanese Special, 2001, 1 eps
Munesue Koichiro (Main Role)
1
Munesue Koichiro
Main Role
0.0
2000 Shimeitehai 3: Otto no Komuten Kara 5000-man Nusunda Tsuma
Japanese Special, 2000, 1 eps
Imai Masayuki (Main Role)
1
Imai Masayuki
Main Role
0.0
2000 Hatsuru Soko Naki
Japanese Special, 2000, 1 eps
Iki Haruka (Main Role)
1
Main Role
4.0
1999 Shimeitehai 2: Jinko 42-man 7-sennin Nagasa Kishi, Sennyu Sosachu Shoshishita Senpai ga Ikite Iru?
Japanese Special, 1999, 1 eps
Imai Masayuki (Main Role)
1
Imai Masayuki
Main Role
0.0
1999 Yo nimo Kimyo na Monogatari: 1999 Spring Special
Japanese Special, 1999, 1 eps
{Jikan no Nai Machi} Nishikawa Keiichi (Main Role)
1
{Jikan no Nai Machi} Nishikawa Keiichi
Main Role
0.0
1998 Shimeitehai: Aomori Kenhachi no Heshi, Jinko 24-man 5-senri
Japanese Special, 1998, 1 eps
Imai Takayuki (Main Role)
1
Imai Takayuki
Main Role
0.0
1997 The Locksmith 5
Japanese Special, 1997, 1 eps
Mizutani Kouji (Main Role)
1
Mizutani Kouji
Main Role
0.0
1996 The Locksmith 4
Japanese Special, 1996, 1 eps
Mizutani Kouji (Main Role)
1
Mizutani Kouji
Main Role
0.0
1995 The Locksmith 3
Japanese Special, 1995, 1 eps
Mizutani Kouji (Main Role)
1
Mizutani Kouji
Main Role
0.0
1994 The Locksmith 2
Japanese Special, 1994, 1 eps
Mizutani Kouji (Main Role)
1
Mizutani Kouji
Main Role
1.0
1993 The Locksmith
Japanese Special, 1993, 1 eps
Mizutani Kouji (Main Role)
1
Main Role
2.0
1992 Kimitachi ga Ite Boku ga Iru 2
Japanese Special, 1992, 1 eps
(Main Role)
1
Main Role
0.0
1992 Izakaya Choji
Japanese Special, 1992, 1 eps
(Main Role)
1
Main Role
0.0
1992 Kimitachi ga Ite Boku ga Iru
Japanese Special, 1992, 1 eps
Fujiwara Senjuro (Main Role)
1
Fujiwara Senjuro
Main Role
5.0
TV Show
Year Title # Role Rating
2024 Ninosan Special: Ninosan to Asobo 3
Japanese TV Show, 2024, 1 eps
(Guest)
1
Guest
0.0
2023 The Way of the Actor: Watanabe Ken Talks to You About Work and Life
Japanese TV Show, 2023, 4 eps
(Main Host)
4
Main Host
0.0
2015 Yoru no Chimata wo Haikaisuru
Japanese TV Show, 2015, 285 eps
(Ep. 267-268) (Guest)
285
(Ep. 267-268)
Guest
0.0
2009 A-Studio+
Japanese TV Show, 2009, 810 eps
(Ep. 68, 396) (Guest)
810
(Ep. 68, 396)
Guest
10.0
2008 Bura Tamori
Japanese TV Show, 2008, 233 eps
(Guest)
233
Guest
0.0
2008 Shabekuri 007
Japanese TV Show, 2008, 600 eps
(Ep. 117) (Guest)
600
(Ep. 117)
Guest
8.3
2005 Oshareism
Japanese TV Show, 2005, 760 eps
(Ep. 252) (Guest)
760
(Ep. 252)
Guest
8.4
2002 Gyoretsuno Dekiru Horitsu Sodanjo
Japanese TV Show, 2002, 865 eps
(Regular Member)
865
Regular Member
6.0
1983 Mibu no Koiuta
Japanese TV Show, 1983, 23 eps
(Unknown)
23
Unknown
0.0
1976 Tetsuko's Room
Japanese TV Show, 1976, 1854 eps
(Guest)
1854
Guest
0.0
1951 Kouhaku Uta Gassen
Japanese TV Show, 1951, 73 eps
[Judge] (Ep. 37, 51, 57) | [Supporter] (Ep. 38) (Guest)
73
[Judge] (Ep. 37, 51, 57) | [Supporter] (Ep. 38)
Guest
7.6
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Watanabe Ken

Kensaku Watanabe
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Details

  • First Name: Kensaku
  • Family Name: Watanabe
  • Native name: 渡辺謙
  • Nationality: Japanese
  • Gender: Male
  • Born: October 21, 1959
  • Age: 64

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