Asia

Veteran Japanese actor Ken Takakura dies at 83

Japanese actor Ken Takakura attends the premiere of Chinese director Zhang Yimou's new movie 'Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles' on 16 December, 2005 in ancient town Lijiang of Yunnan Province, China Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ken Takakura found fame with his brooding acting style in Japanese yakuza and detective roles

Veteran Japanese actor Ken Takakura has died of lymphoma aged 83.

The actor passed away at a Tokyo hospital on 10 November, his office said on Tuesday.

Known as the "Clint Eastwood" of Japan, Takakura was renowned for his brooding style and stoic roles in several Japanese yakuza and action movies.

He also starred as a tough Japanese police officer alongside US actor Michael Douglas in the 1989 Ridley Scott film "Black Rain".

Among his well-known films were "The Yellow Handkerchief" and "Poppoya" (The Railway Man), for which he won the best actor prize at the Montreal World Film Festival.

Takakura also went on to play a lead role in Chinese director Zhang Yimou's 2005 film "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption He was affectionately known as "Ken-san" to his friends and fans alike
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Pictured here with famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou (right), Takakura was also popular in China

In Japan, national broadcaster NHK opened its news programme at noon with the news of Takakura's death. The Asahi Shimbun, a major daily, tweeted condolences and called him "one of Japan's greatest actors".

Online, there was an outpouring of grief as fans took to social media to pay tribute to "Ken-san".

Japanese actor Takashi Sasano said on Twitter that his dream of acting with Takakura would now "never come true".

Tadanobu Asano, best known for his roles in Electric Dragon 80.000 V and Marvel action movie Thor, tweeted: "Rest in peace. This makes me so sad. Thank you so much."

Other people referred online to Takakura's appearance in a 1984 TV commercial for life insurance in which he famously declared: "I'm an awkward guy."

Many Japanese tweets quoted that phrase, while The Mainichi Shimbun, another daily, immediately carried a piece with the phrase "awkward guy" in the title.

The paper said Takakura represented the self-denying stoicism and generosity of spirit which resonated with Japanese audiences.

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