Ken Watanabe the silver screen samurai

This is the week of the samurai as we look into other persons of interest with this personal bio for the week. This time we are looking into an actor who wasn’t in very many kaiju movies, he did have a major impact on the industry. From being a samurai to being best friends to an oversize radioactive lizard. Ken has had an interesting screen life. But the question is, what is his story? find out down below as we go on this journey into the life of the silver screen samurai known as Ken Watanabe! Just a reminder, I am an amazon affiliate And pictures were taken by


Eric Chan

Thore Siebrands


Eric Ishii Eckhardt


Felice Beato


The origin story

Watanabe was born in Koide, Niigata in October 21, 1959.

His mother was a school teacher and his father taught calligraphy. Due to several relocations for his parents’ work, he spent his childhood in the villages of Irihirose and Sumon, both now part of the city of Uonuma, and in Takada, now part of the city of Jōetsu. He attended Niigata Prefectural Koide High School, where he was a member of the concert band club, playing trumpet, which he had played since childhood. In 1978, Ken had made plans to get into Musashino Academia Musicae, a conservatory in Tokyo. But he never made it to that point, for whatever reason, this changed Ken’s path into stardom forever.


The acting career

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 1982, he made his first TV appearance in Michinaru Hanran (Unknown Rebellion), and his first appearance on TV as a samurai in Mibu no koiuta. He made his feature-film debut in 1984 with MacArthur’s Children.

In 1989, he collapsed while filming a movie in Canada due to leukemia.

As his health improved his career picked back up. He co-starred with Kōji Yakusho in the 1998 Kizuna, for which he was nominated for the Japanese Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

He made a miraculous comeback & co-starred with Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai (2003), which pushed him to the center stage of Hollywood.

In 2006, he won Best Lead Actor at the Japanese Academy Awards for his role in Memories of Tomorrow (Ashita no Kioku), in which he played a patient with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Later on, Watanabe revealed in his autobiography Dare? – Who Am I? that he has hepatitis C. At a press conference held May 23, 2006, in Tokyo’s Ginza district, he said he was in good condition but was still undergoing treatment.

On March 13, 2011, he launched a YouTube page to raise awareness about the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami and invited celebrities to add their videos. In his video in English, he made a call to action to support the victims and to raise funds for the relief effort. In conjunction, he has created his own website for the cause.

On February 9, 2016, it was revealed Watanabe had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and would postpone scheduled performances to undergo necessary treatment.

Now that’s what I would like to call an amazing comeback. (Just to give my two cents) Out of all the movies I saw, The last samurai has to be one of my favorite movies out there. yep even more so than a Kaiju/giant monster movie with Godzilla king of the monsters. It was a pretty solid moment in my life.

What Ken means to me

It is kind of a weird relationship between this actor and the movie industry. I do think his story is very interesting with where he went in his life currently, he is married to Kaho Minami and has two biological children and an adopted son. His oldest son, Dai Watanabe (born 1984), is an actor, and his daughter Anne Watanabe (born 1986) is also an actress and fashion model.

So you have the family man aspect with this actor as well as one who went through so many hardships that one couldn’t imagine going through. I will say this only proves why I call him a silver screen samurai.


As we draw closer to the filling of our goal with this being the ninety-second blog post for the week in counting. for those of you who don’t know, I am planning on updating and organizing this website. This would mean more categories for all your kaiju needs or even for your favorite blogs in case you want to look back into these or even buy a particular product.


Well, we come to another close with this personal bio for this week. I am glad you guys have come to visit. I always try bringing in the best content out there. But as per usual, all links to some of Ken’s greatest hits are down below.

The last samurai(Blueray only)


Letters from Iwo Jima

The king and I(Prime only)

Godzilla 2014




Author: Vic

Just a little about me is I like monster movies and love educating people with blogs and content.

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