About this actor
Ken Takakura (高倉 健, Takakura Ken), born Gouichi Oda (小田 剛一, Oda Gōichi, February 16, 1931, in Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka, Japan), is a Japanese actor best known for his brooding style and the stoic presence he brings to his roles. Takakura gained his streetwise swagger and tough-guy persona watching yakuza turf battles over the lucrative black market and racketeering in postwar Fukuoka. This subject was covered in one of his most famous movies, Showa Zankyo-den (Remnants of Chivalry in the Showa Era), in which he played an honorable old-school yakuza among the violent post-war gurentai. A graduate of Meiji University in Tokyo Takakura happened by an audition in 1955 at the Toei Film Company, and decided to look in. Toei found a natural in Takakura as he debuted with Denko Karate Uchi (Lightning Karate Blow) in 1956. Japan experienced a boom in gangster films in the 1960s as the Japanese people struggled with the generational differences between those raised in pre-war and post-war Japan and...