21 october, 1959
Ken Watanabe was born on October 21, 1959 in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. In 1978, he moved to Tokyo to pursue his career as an actor. He drew the attention of the critics when Yukio Ninagawa, a famous Japanese director, chose him for the lead role in one of his plays even though Ken was still an acting student. He made his first TV appearance in 1982 but his real career breakthrough came when he was chosen to play the lead in the Japanese national TV drama series called "Dokugan ryu Masamune"; he played a samurai leader hero, that made him a household name in Japan. In 1989, when he was shooting a movie in Canada, he collapsed because of Leukemia. He made a miraculous comeback and, in 2003, The Last Samurai (2003), where he co-starred with Tom Cruise, pushed him to a center stage of Hollywood. "The Last Samurai" is his 15th movie. He is a fanatic fan of Hanshin Tigers (Japanese professional baseball team) and Kobe Steel rugby team. He loves noodles.