Ken Takakura (real name Goichi Oda) is Japan’s Clint Eastwood, a likeable “tough-guy”, best known as the gritty hero of yakuza movies.
Although he has spent most of his career playing desperate criminals, he’s a teetotaler and a graduate of the prestigious Meiji University.
His Hollywood debut was in 1975, as a yakuza hitman in Sidney Pollack’s ‘The Yakuza’, which also starred Robert Mitchum.
Since then, he has appeared alongside Michael Douglas in 1989 (as a hard-nosed Osaka cop in Ridley Scott’s ‘Black Rain’) and Tom Selleck in 1992 (as the manager of the Chunichi Dragons baseball team in ‘Mr Baseball’). These roles helped break his typecasting in Japan.