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 Koji Yakusho
  Actor
 Date of birth:
      January 1st, 1956
      Isahaya, Nagasaki, Japan
Biography

Best known for his role as Shohei Sugiyama in Shall We Dance? (1996), Yakusho's interest in acting started in 1976 after watching Maxim Gorky's version of The Lower Depths. Two years later, Yakusho got his first break by being one of four applicants accepted into the Mumei-juku acting school, which is run by the legendary actor Tatsuya Nakadai. While there, Nakadai gave him his stage name of Yakusho, his birth name was Koji Hashimoto, and he also met actress Kawatsu Saeko, who he would marry in 1982. In 1979, Yakusho appeared in his first film, alongside mentor Nakadai, titled Hunter in the Dark. In 1983, he made his first big impression on the Japanese public with his role as a main character for the popular TV show Tokugawa Ieyasu. Yakusho netted several memorable roles in the years to come, including his work in the internationally renowned Tampopo (1985), until his performance in Shall We Dance? in 1996. The film was a gigantic success in its home country, leading the box office that year, while also landing Yakusho even more notice overseas where the film played tremendously well with critics. Since that role, Yakusho has enjoyed being at the forefront of numerous, often high profile, films in Japan, while his international success also landed him a role in the US film Memoirs of a Geisha in 2005.

Acting Toho Filmography
Hunter in the Dark (1979) - Kuwano
The Tower of Lilies (1982) - Ootaka
Tampopo (1985) - Man in White Suit
Another Way (1988) - Naoto Sekiya
Shall We Dance? (1996) - Shohei Sugiyama
Kizuna (1998) - Takaaki Ise
Dora-Heita (2000) - Koheita Mochizuki, Dora-Heita
Pulse (2001) - Ship Captain
University of Laughs (2004) - Mutsuo Sakisaka
The Lakeside Murder Case (2004) - Sunsuke Namiki
Lorelei (2005) - Shinichi Masami, Commander
Suite Dreams (2006) - Heikichi Shindo, Deputy Manager
I Just Didn't Do It (2006) - Masayoshi Arakawa, Lawyer