Image of Ken Takakura

Ken Takakura

Ken Takakura (高倉 健, Takakura Ken), born Gouichi Oda (February 16, 1931, in Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka, Japan), was a Japanese actor best known for his brooding style and the stoic presence he brings to his roles. Takakura gained his streetwise swagger and tough-guy persona watching yakuza turf battles over the lucrative black market and racketeering in postwar Fukuoka. This subject was covered in one of his most famous movies, Showa Zankyo-den (Remnants of Chivalry in the Showa Era), in which he played an honorable old-school yakuza among the violent post-war gurentai. A graduate of Meiji University in Tokyo Takakura happened by an audition in 1955 at the Toei Film Company, and decided to look in. Toei found a natural in Takakura as he debuted with Denko Karate Uchi (Lightning Karate Blow) in 1956. Japan experienced a boom in gangster films in the 1960s as the Japanese people struggled with the generational differences between those raised in pre-war and post-war Japan and these were Takakura's stock and trade. His breakout role would be in the 1965 film Abashiri Prison, and its sequel Abashiri Bangaichi: Bokyohen (Abashiri Prison: Longing for Home, also 1965), in which he played an ex-con antihero. By the time Takakura would leave Toei in 1976, he had appeared in over 180 films. Takakura gained international recognition after starring in the 1970 war film Too Late the Hero as the cunning Imperial Japanese Major Yamaguchi, the 1975 Sydney Pollack sleeper hit The Yakuza with Robert Mitchum and is probably best known in the West for his role in Ridley Scott's Black Rain (1989) where he surprises American cops played by Michael Douglas and Andy García with the line, "I do speak fucking English". He again proved himself bankable to Western audiences with the 1992 Fred Schepisi comedy Mr. Baseball starring Tom Selleck. While he has slowed down a bit in his older years, he is still active. His most recent film was the 2005 Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles by Chinese director Zhang Yimou. Description above from the Wikipedia article Ken Takakura, licensed under CC-BY-SA,full list of contributors on Wikipedia.


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Born:
Feb 16, 1931 In Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka, Japan
Movie/TV Credits:
154
First Appeared:
In the movie Mother Peacock 1956-12-05
Latest Project:
Movie Ken San 2016-08-20
Known For
Poster of Mr. Baseball
Poster of Never Give Up
Poster of Path of Japanese Chivalry: Story of All-Out Attack
Poster of The Yakuza
Filmography
Movie Ken San Himself 2016-08-20
Movie Dearest Eiji Shimakura 2012-08-25
Movie Black Rain: Making The Film Himself (archive footage) 2006-10-10
Movie Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles Gou-ichi Takata 2005-12-22
Movie The Firefly Yamaoka Shuji 2001-05-01
Movie Railroad Man Otomatsu Sato 1999-06-05
Movie 47 Ronin Kuranosuke Oishi 1994-10-22
Movie Mr. Baseball Uchiyama 1992-10-01
Movie Robert Mitchum: The Reluctant Star actor 'The Yakuza' (archive footage) (uncredited) 1991-03-10
Movie Black Rain Masahiro 1989-09-22
Movie Buddies Kadokura 1989-11-03
Movie See You Unknown 1988-05-18
Movie Demon Shuji 1985-08-31
Movie Antarctica Ushioda 1983-07-23
Movie Choji Snack Bar Eiji 1983-11-12
Movie The Longest Tunnel Go Akutsu 1982-10-16
Movie Station Eiji Mikami 1981-11-07
Movie The Revolt Keisuke Miyagi 1980-01-15
Movie A Distant Cry from Spring Kosaku Tajima 1980-03-15
Movie Winter's Flower Hidetsugu Kano 1978-06-17
Movie Never Give Up Takeshi Ajisawa 1978-10-07
Movie Mount Hakkoda Captain Tokushima 1977-06-04
Movie The Yellow Handkerchief Yusaku Shima 1977-09-30
Movie Manhunt Morioka 1976-02-11
Movie Path of Japanese Chivalry: Story of All-Out Attack 1975-01-15
Movie Great Jailbreak Ichiro Kozue 1975-04-05
Movie The International Gang of Kobe Masato Dan 1975-10-14
Movie The Bullet Train Tetsuo Okita 1975-07-05
Movie The Homeless Jokichi Anabuki 1974-10-09
Movie Third Generation Boss Unknown 1974-08-10
Movie The Yakuza Tanaka Ken 1974-12-21
Movie Japan's Top Gangster Unknown 1973-08-11
Movie Yakuza of the Present Ryoichi Shimaya 1973-10-27
Movie Golgo 13 Golgo 13 1973-12-29
Movie Lullaby for a Tough Guy Unknown 1972-01-01
Movie The Kanto Scarlet Cherry Gang Kuramoto 1972-03-04
Movie New Abashiri Prison Story: Honor and Humanity, Ammunition That Attracts the Storm Unknown 1972-08-12
Movie The Pledge Unknown 1972-03-23
Movie Contemporary Tales of Chivalry: The Traitor Shall Die Unknown 1972-12-30
Movie Bloodiest Flower 1971-04-03
Movie The Path of the King Ryutaro Fudo 1971-03-06
Movie Dagger Unknown 1971-04-28
Movie New Prison Walls of Abashiri: Snowbound Deserter 1971-12-29
Movie Contemporary Tales of Chivalry: Forbidden Love Hidejiro Hanada 1971-10-27
Movie Patience Has An End Isamu Tekada 1971-06-25
Movie New Prison Walls of Abashiri: Stormy Cape Unknown 1971-08-13
Movie A Hoodlum At The Risk Of His Life Unknown 1970-01-05
Movie House of Gamblers Unknown 1970-01-01
Movie Brutal Tales of Chivalry 7: Hell Is a Man's Destiny Unknown 1970-01-01
Movie The Japan Derby Race Unknown 1970-05-13
Movie Brave Red Flower of the North 1970-01-09
Movie Too Late the Hero Major Yamaguchi 1970-05-20
Movie The Domain: Rising Dragon Unknown 1970-12-03
Movie The Last Kamikaze Unknown 1970-10-29
Movie New Prison Walls of Abashiri: Stray Wolf in Snow Unknown 1970-12-30
Movie New Prison Walls of Abashiri: High Stakes at Abashiri Unknown 1970-08-14
Movie The Domain: Flower and Dragon Kingoro Tamai 1969-05-31
Movie Red Peony Gambler: Second Generation Ceremony Unknown 1969-04-10
Movie Brothers Serving Time Unknown 1969-01-01
Movie Samurai Geisha Shimada 1969-07-31
Movie Red Peony Gambler: Flower Cards Game Shogo Hanaoka 1969-02-01
Movie Brutal Tales of Chivalry 5: Man With The Karajishi Tattoo Hanada Hidejiro 1969-03-06
Movie New Prison Walls of Abashiri 2 Unknown 1969-08-13
Movie The Biggest Gamble 1969-09-14
Movie Gambler's Legacy Tsukuda Ginjiro 1969-12-27
Movie New Prison Walls of Abashiri: The Vagrant Comes to a Port Town 1969-12-27
Movie Brutal Tales of Chivalry 6 Unknown 1969-11-07
Movie Memoir of Japanese Assassinations Unknown 1969-10-16
Movie The Drifting Avenger Ken Kato 1968-06-14
Movie The Domain: Severed Relations Unknown 1968-02-22
Movie Hishakaku and Kiratsune: A Tale of Two Yakuza 1968-07-12
Movie Prison Boss Unknown 1968-04-18
Movie Histories of the Chivalrous Unknown 1968-08-01
Movie Red Peony Gambler Shogo Hanaoka 1968-09-14
Movie New Prison Walls of Abashiri Katsuji Suehiro 1968-12-28
Movie The Day the Sun Rose Unknown 1968-11-23
Movie The Chivalrous Life Ryuma Ibuki 1967-05-30
Movie Abashiri Prison: Duel in Hokkaido Unknown 1967-04-20
Movie Classmates First Lieutenant Kenmochi 1967-06-03
Movie The Domain: White Blade Unknown 1967-01-28
Movie A Story from Abashiri Prison—Duel in Snow Storm Shin-ichi Tachibana 1967-12-23
Movie The Domain: Where The Blade Enters 1967-09-15
Movie Contemporary Tales of Chivalry 4 Unknown 1967-07-08
Movie Abashiri Prison: Challenge to the Evil Shin-ichi Tachibana 1967-08-12
Movie The Bullet and the Horse Unknown 1966-04-23
Movie The Domain: Kanda Festival Showdown 1966-02-03
Movie Contemporary Tales of Chivalry 2 Unknown 1966-01-13
Movie The Kamikaze Guy 1966-06-04
Movie Showdown of Men Unknown 1966-07-01
Movie Abashiri Prison: Duel in the Snow Country Unknown 1966-12-31
Movie The Domain: Duel at Thunder Gate Unknown 1966-09-17
Movie Glorious Fights Ichiro Takita 1966-10-29
Movie Abashiri Prison: Duel in the South Unknown 1966-08-13
Movie Contemporary Tales of Chivalry: The Lone Wolf 1966-07-09
Movie The Domain: The Naniwa Story Unknown 1965-01-30
Movie A Fugitive from the Past Ajimura 1965-01-15
Movie The Boss Unknown 1965-01-03
Movie Prison Walls of Abashiri, Part 2 Shinichi Tachibana 1965-07-10
Movie Abashiri Prison 1965-04-18
Movie The Domain: Kanto Legends of Chivalry Unknown 1965-08-12
Movie Prison Walls of Abashiri 3 Shinichi Tachibana 1965-10-31
Movie Brutal Tales of Chivalry Seiji Terajima 1965-10-01
Movie Prison Walls of Abashiri 4 Shin'ichi Tachibana 1965-12-31
Movie Miyamoto Musashi V: Musashi vs Kojiro Sasaki Kojiro 1965-09-04
Movie Jakoman and Tetsu Tetsu 1964-02-08
Movie An Outlaw Minami 1964-04-05
Movie Miyamoto Musashi: The Duel at Ichijo Temple Sasaki Kojiro 1964-01-01
Movie The Domain Unknown 1964-08-13
Movie Storm Party Unknown 1964-10-21
Movie Wolves, Pigs & Men Jiro, the second brother 1964-08-26
Movie Life of Hishakaku Unknown 1963-03-16
Movie Eleven Gangsters Sawagami 1963-01-15
Movie The Big Boss Unknown 1963-04-12
Movie Duel of the Underworld Unknown 1963-07-13
Movie Gang Loyalty and Vengeance Asano 1963-10-20
Movie Miyamoto Musashi: Birth of Two Sword Style Sasaki Kojiro 1963-09-14
Movie All Rascals 1962-03-21
Movie The Escape Unknown 1962-03-14
Movie The Prickly Mouthed Geisha and the Girl of Osaka 1962-02-07
Movie Lady Sen and Hideyori Unknown 1962-03-25
Movie 365 Nights Unknown 1962-09-09
Movie Tales of President Mito Sukesaburo Sasa 1962-04-04
Movie Hell's Kitchen Unknown 1962-10-12
Movie Song of Kagoshima Shuhei Tategami 1962-05-01
Movie Hell's Juggler Unknown 1961-01-15
Movie The Prickly Mouthed Geisha, Part 4 Kenichi Hanamura 1961-01-09
Movie A Fishwife's Tale Unknown 1961-05-31
Movie Flower, Storm and Gangster 'Smiley' Ken 1961-06-23
Movie Devil's Nursery Rhyme Kosuke Kindaichi 1961-11-15
Movie Feisty Edo Girl Nakanori-san Kenichi Oka 1961-10-22
Movie The Prickly-Mouthed Geisha Goes to Sado Unknown 1961-08-05
Movie The Prickly Mouthed Geisha Part 2 Unknown 1960-03-01
Movie Man of the World Unknown 1960-01-21
Movie The Great Road Unknown 1960-03-08
Movie The Second Bullet is Marked Unknown 1960-01-27
Movie Outlaw Under a Blue Canopy Unknown 1960-05-10
Movie The Sand City in Manchuria Unknown 1960-08-24
Movie The Prickly Mouthed Geisha, Part 3 Unknown 1960-08-07
Movie Man of the World 2 Unknown 1960-07-13
Movie The Happy Family Unknown 1959-01-28
Movie Men in a Rough Town Fumio Sone 1959-01-28
Movie Four Hours of Terror Captain Yamamoto 1959-09-30
Movie Romance Freestyle Unknown 1958-04-30
Movie Man of Thirteen Eyes 1958-01-15
Movie No Advice Taken Unknown 1958-01-03
Movie Beyond the Seasonal Wind 1958-06-10
Movie With Songs in My Heart Unknown 1958-09-10
Movie Detective Duel Unknown 1958-08-06
Movie Sister with Sister Hiroshi Ishioka 1958-12-09
Movie The Outsiders Ichitaro Kazamori 1958-11-26
Movie Employee Full of Fight Tani 1957-03-13
Movie Jet Air Base 101 Jiro Nakata 1957-12-15
Movie The Deep Blue Sea Unknown 1957-07-30
Movie Mother Peacock Unknown 1956-12-05