Chinese name: 役所 広司
Born: January 1, 1956
From: Isahaya, Japan
Worked with Ziyi: 1 time
Kōji Hashimoto, known professionally as Kōji Yakusho, is a Japanese actor. Yakusho was born in Isahaya, Nagasaki, the youngest of five brothers. After graduation from Nagasaki Prefectural High School of Technology in 1974, he worked at the Chiyoda municipal ward office, or kuyakusho, in Tokyo, from which he later took his stage name. In 1976, he saw a production of Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths and was inspired, first to watch, and then later to take part in, as many plays as possible.
In 1996 and 1997, Yakusho enjoyed several major successes. The Eel, directed by Shohei Imamura, in which he played the eel-loving lead, won the Palme d’Or at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.
Shall We Dance? was a major hit in Japan that inspired a domestic dance craze. Ballroom groups and dance schools multiplied in the country after the film’s release, and people who previously would never admit to taking lessons announced that they did with pride. Director Masayuki Suo said of his lead, until that point was known mostly for playing good-looking samurai, “we thought he could play this overworked, tired Japanese businessman, and he did…. [H]e pulled everything off and took his dance training so seriously.”
Yakusho next won the Hochi Film Award for Best Actor for Bounce Ko Gals, a film which dealt with high school prostitution specifically, and money worship in general. He collaborated with horror director Kiyoshi Kurosawa in Cure, License to Live, Seance, Charisma, Pulse, Doppelganger, Retribution, and Tokyo Sonata. Yakusho found further recognition with international audiences to some extent with roles in such films as Memoirs of a Geisha and Babel. In the latter, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, he played the father of the deaf-mute played by Rinko Kikuchi. —Wiki