Ken Watanabe is a Japanese actor who has established himself in both the Japanese and international movie scenes. Born on October 21, 1959, he made his debut in television dramas in 1983 and soon after that started to appear in films. He quickly developed an impressive resume of leading roles in films such as The Last Samurai, Batman Begins, Inception and Letters from Iwo Jima.
Watanabe has earned numerous awards for his performances over the years, including four Japan Academy Prize for Best Actor nominations, two Golden Globe Award for Best Actor nominations and one BAFTA nomination for Best Actor. He also won a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical for his portrayal of the King of Siam in The King and I at the Lincoln Center Theater production on Broadway.
Furthermore, Watanabe is regarded as one of the most successful actors who have crossed over between Japan’s domestic entertainment market and Hollywood. His unique charisma and outstanding talent have allowed him to take on characters from all walks of life with ease – be they samurai warriors or corporate executives – while delivering intense yet believable performances every time.
He has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood such as Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Clint Eastwood and Alejandro González Iñárritu; building up an impressive list of credits along the way – including evergreen classics like Lost in Translation, Memoirs of a Geisha and The Wolverine. As well as this he can also count huge blockbusters such as Godzilla: King of Monsters among his filmography.
In recent years Watanabe has continued to show off his considerable skills both on stage – appearing alongside Scarlett Johansson in Sophocles’ Electra at Tokyo’s Setagaya Public Theatre – and screen; starring most recently in the 2019 releases Weathering With You and Detective Pikachu. His versatile talent continues to be revered by audiences worldwide, cementing his reputation as one of Japan’s most beloved actors.