Rentarō Mikuni

Rentarō Mikuni (三國 連太郎 Mikuni Rentarō) (also sometimes credited 三国連太郎; ; January 20, 1923 – April 14, 2013) was a Japanese film actor from Gunma Prefecture. He appeared in over 150 films since making his screen debut in 1951, and won three Japanese Academy Awards for Best Actor, and a further seven nominations. He also won two Blue Ribbon Awards for Best Actor, in 1960 and in 1989.[1][2] The 1987 film Shinran: Path to Purity (親鸞:白い道), which he wrote and directed, was awarded the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.[3] Actor Kōichi Satō is his son.

Rentarō Mikuni
Rentarō Mikuni
around 1950s
Masao Sato

January 20, 1923
Gunma, Japan
DiedApril 14, 2013 (aged 90)
Years active1950–2013
Height1.81 m (5 ft 11 12 in)
ChildrenKōichi Satō


Mikuni was born the son of a woman who had become pregnant while working as an indentured servant. His mother then married an electrician who had learned his trade while serving in the military, the man Mikuni considered his father. His stepfather was a member of the burakumin, and Mikuni experienced prejudice as a child, such as automatically being suspected of theft when a bicycle was stolen. He was educated to elementary school level and hoped to then start work with his father, but his father insisted that he should attend middle school. Part way through middle school Mikuni dropped out and left home. He was repeatedly sent home from Tokyo by the police. Finally he escaped and from the age of sixteen to twenty he wandered around Japan and Korea (then under Japanese control) doing a variety of jobs. At the age of twenty he received callup papers for the Japanese military.[4]

Mikuni attempted to evade the callup but was arrested by police after his mother informed on him. Instead of being punished he was simply sent to serve in China. He served his time in a unit of unfit and incompetent soldiers, and never fired a weapon at the enemy.[4]

After returning to Japan, he drifted between odd jobs. His career as an actor started when he was asked to do a screen test by a scout. At the time he had no intention of becoming an actor and did the test merely because he was promised some meal tickets.[n 1][4]

He took his stage name from his first role in the 1951 film Zenma directed by Keisuke Kinoshita, for which he won the Blue Ribbon award for best newcomer.[5]

He died in 2013 of acute cardiac failure.[5]


Selected television appearances



  1. ^ 食券


  1. ^ ブルーリボン賞ヒストリー (in Japanese). Cinema Hochi. Archived from the original on 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  2. ^ ブルーリボン賞ヒストリー (in Japanese). Cinema Hochi. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved 2010-04-08.
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes - From 15th to 26th May 2013". Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  4. ^ a b c Mikuni, Rentaro. Ikizama Shinizama [Way of life, way of death]. ISBN 4-8454-2071-6.
  5. ^ a b "Rentaro Mikuni, movie actor and director, dies at 90".
  6. ^

External links

A Fugitive from the Past

A Fugitive from the Past (飢餓海峡, Kiga kaikyō) is a 1965 Japanese film starring Rentarō Mikuni and Ken Takakura and directed by Tomu Uchida. It is a detective story based on the novel Kiga Kaikyo by Tsutomu Minakami. The film is also known as "Straits of Hunger" or "Hunger Straits" (the literal translation of the original Japanese title) in English.

A Taxing Woman's Return

A Taxing Woman's Return (Japanese: マルサの女2, Hepburn: Marusa no onna 2) is a 1988 Japanese comedy film written and directed by Juzo Itami. It is the sequel to Itami's 1987 comedy A Taxing Woman. Nobuko Miyamoto plays female government tax investigator Ryoko Itakura. She investigates a religious sect, led by Teppei Onizawa (Rentarō Mikuni), that is suspected of being used for tax evasion. The sect is part of a complex conspiracy involving the Yakuza, political corruption and a prestigious construction project.

Blue Ribbon Awards for Best Actor

The Blue Ribbon Awards for Best Actor is as part of its annual Blue Ribbon Awards for Japanese film, to recognize a male actor who has delivered an outstanding performance in a leading role.

Eiji Okuda

Eiji Okuda (奥田瑛二, Okuda Eiji, born 18 March 1950) is a Japanese actor and film director. Born in Kasugai, Aichi, he was nominated for the Best Actor award at the 1990 Japanese Academy Awards for his performance in Sen no Rikyu. He won the award for best actor at the 37th Blue Ribbon Awards for Like a Rolling Stone.He made his directing debut in 2001, and has taken leading roles in front of the camera in the three films he has directed as of 2006.

He appeared in the Brazilian soap opera Morde & Assopra, of 2011, as a scientist in the first chapter.

Hajime Hana

Hajime Hana (ハナ肇, Hana Hajime) was a Japanese actor. He was the leader of the comic jazz band The Crazy Cats, which featured such talent as Hitoshi Ueki and Kei Tani, and which starred in a series of film comedies (such as the "Irresponsible" (Musekinin) series at Toho) and in TV variety shows such as "Shabondama Holiday." He won the award for best actor at the 31st Blue Ribbon Awards for Kaisha monogatari: Memories of You.

Hiroshi Abe (actor)

Hiroshi Abe (阿部 寛, Abe Hiroshi, born 22 June 1964) is a Japanese model and actor. He is known for his roles in Still Walking, Chocolate and Godzilla 2000: Millennium.

Hiroyuki Sanada

Hiroyuki Sanada, MBE (真田 広之, Sanada Hiroyuki, born Hiroyuki Shimosawa (下澤 廣之, Shimosawa Hiroyuki); 12 October 1960), is a Japanese actor.

Ken Ogata

Akinobu Ogata (緒形 明伸, Ogata Akinobu, 20 July 1937 – 5 October 2008), better known by his stage name Ken Ogata (緒形 拳, Ogata Ken), was a Japanese actor.

Kiyoshi Atsumi

Kiyoshi Atsumi (渥美 清 Atsumi Kiyoshi), born Yasuo Tadokoro (田所 康雄 Tadokoro Yasuo, 10 March 1928 in Tokyo – 4 August 1996 in Tokyo), was a Japanese film actor.

He started his career in 1951 as a comedian at a strip-show theater in Asakusa. After two years of fighting pulmonary tuberculosis, he made his debut on TV in 1956 and on film in 1957. His vivid performance of a lovable, innocent man in a film “Dear Mr. Emperor” (Haikei Tenno-Heika-Sama) in 1963 established his reputation as an actor.

Later he became the star of the highly popular Tora-san series of films, from the original Otoko wa Tsurai yo in 1969 to the 48th film released in 1995, the year before his death.

The enduring success of the series made him synonymous with the Tora-san character, and many Japanese regarded his death as the death of Tora-san, not the death of Yasuo Tadokoro or Kiyoshi Atsumi.

Kōichi Satō (actor)

Koichi Sato (佐藤 浩市, Satō Kōichi, born December 10, 1960) is a Japanese actor. He is the son of veteran Japanese actor Rentarō Mikuni.

Mainichi Film Award for Best Actor

The Mainichi Film Award for Best Actor is a film award given at the Mainichi Film Awards.

Masahiro Motoki

Masahiro Motoki (本木 雅弘 Motoki Masahiro, born December 21, 1965) is a Japanese actor. He portrayed protagonist Daigo Kobayashi in Departures, which won the 81st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. His performance earned him the Award for Best Actor at the 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards, at the 3rd Asian Film Awards and at the 32nd Japan Academy Prize.

Mirai Moriyama

Mirai Moriyama (森山 未來, Moriyama Mirai, born August 20, 1984) is a Japanese actor and dancer.

Tetsuya Watari

Tetsuya Watari (渡 哲也, Watari Tetsuya, born December 28, 1941) is a Japanese film, stage, and television actor. He made his screen debut in 1964, in Isamu Kosugi's Abare Kishidō.Watari was mentored at Nikkatsu by Yujiro Ishihara. When Nikkatsu shifted to focusing on Roman Porno films in the early seventies, Watari was one of many of their actors who left the studio.He was the president of Ishihara Promotion after Yujiro's death in 1987 but in 2011 he resigned due to his health conditions.

On June 10, 2015 he was hospitalised for acute myocardial infarction and underwent surgery. On July 17 it was announced that he was in rehabilitation and would be discharged from hospital in about a month.

He has a younger brother, Tsunehiko Watase, who is also an actor.

Toshiyuki Nagashima

Toshiyuki Nagashima (永島敏行, Nagashima Toshiyuki) is a Japanese actor. He won the award for Best Newcomer at the 3rd Hochi Film Awards for Kaerazaru hibi and for Best Actor at the 6th Hochi Film Awards for Enrai.

Vengeance Is Mine (1979 film)

Vengeance Is Mine (Japanese: 復讐するは我にあり, Hepburn: Fukushū Suru wa Ware ni Ari) is a 1979 film directed by Shōhei Imamura, based on the book of the same name by Ryūzō Saki. It depicts the true story of serial killer Akira Nishiguchi (Iwao Enokizu in the film).

It stars Ken Ogata as Enokizu, with Mayumi Ogawa, Rentarō Mikuni, Mitsuko Baisho, Nijiko Kiyokawa and Chocho Miyako. The film won the 1979 Best Picture Award at the Japanese Academy Awards, and won Best Screenplay at the Yokohama Film Festival, where Ken Ogata also won Best Actor.

Will to Live

Will to Live (生きたい, Ikitai) is a 1999 Japanese film directed by Kaneto Shindo and starring Rentarō Mikuni and Shinobu Otake. It is based on the story of The Ballad of Narayama updated to the present day, with the substitution of putting a parent into an old people's home for the abandonment of the original. The film won the Golden St. George and the FIPRESCI Prize at the 21st Moscow International Film Festival.

Yoshio Harada

Yoshio Harada (原田 芳雄, Harada Yoshio, 29 February 1940 – 19 July 2011) was a Japanese actor best known for playing rebels in a career that spanned six decades.

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