Tomisaburo Wakayama : biography
, born Masaru Okumura,Leous, G. (c. 2003): Retrieved on May 23, 2010. was a Japanese actor, best known for playing Ogami Ittō, the scowling, 17th century ronin warrior in the six Lone Wolf and Cub samurai movies.Stout, J. (1981): "Tomisaburo Wakayama: The Anti-Hero of Shogun Assassin." Martial Arts Movies (August), 1(2):26–33.
Wakayama was born on September 1, 1929, in Fukagawa, a district in Tokyo, Japan. (2010). Retrieved on May 23, 2010. His father was Tohiji Katsu (or Katsutoji Kineya), (August 10, 2007). Retrieved on May 24, 2010. a noted kabuki performer and nagauta singer, and the family as a whole were kabuki performers. He and his younger brother, Shintaro Katsu, followed their father in the theater. Wakayama tired of this; at the age of 13, he began to study judo, eventually achieving the rank of 4th dan black belt in the art.
In 1952, as part of the Azuma Kabuki troupe, Wakayama toured the United States of America for nine months. He gave up theater performance completely after his two-year term with the troupe was over. Wakayama taught judo until Toho recruited him as a new martial arts star in their jidaigeki movies. He prepared for these movies by practicing other disciplines, including kenpō, iaidō, kendo, and bōjutsu. All this helped him for roles in the television series The Mute Samurai, the 1975 television series Shokin Kasegi, and his most famous role: Ogami Itto, the Lone Wolf.
Wakayama went on to star in many films, performing in a variety of roles. It has been estimated that he appeared in between 250 to 500 films. His only roles in American movies were as a baseball coach in The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978) and as a yakuza boss, Sugai, in Ridley Scott’s Black Rain (1989) that delivers a memorable English monologue that becomes a defining moment for the film, and the film’s title.Nash, J. R., & Ross, S. R. (1990): The motion picture guide: 1990 annual – The films of 1989. Evanston, IL: Cinebooks. (ISBN 978-0-9339-9729-5)
Wakayama died of acute heart failure on April 2, 1992, in a hospital in Kyoto. He was survived by a son, Kiichiro Wakayama (born c. 1965), also an actor. (March 31, 2010). Retrieved on May 24, 2010.
Wakayama appeared in the following films, amongst others.
- Gyakushu orochimaru (1955)
- Rage (1959)
- Fukaku hichô (1959)
- Jirochô kesshôki: Nagurikomi kôjinyama (1960)
- Megitsune henge (1961)
- Tekka Daimyo ("Lord of Steel Heart") (1961)
- Ghost of Oiwa (1961)
- Zatoichi 2 (1962) (credited as Jo Kenzaburo)
- Ninja 1 (1962)
- Love for a Mother (1962)
- Sleepy Eyes of Death: The Chinese Jade (1963)
- Teuchi (1963)
- Ninja 2 (1963)
- Ninja 3 (1963)
- Zatoichi and the Chest of Gold (1964)
- Sleepy Eyes of Death: Sword of Seduction (1964)
- Ninja 4 (1964)
- Virgin Witnessed (1966)
- A Brave Generous Era (1966)
- Fraternal Honor: Three Brothers of Kanto (1966)
- Bakuchiuchi ("The Gambler) (1967)Cowie, P., & Elley, D. (1977): World Filmography: 1967 (p. 342). London: Tantivy. (ISBN 978-0-4980-1565-6)
- Hokkai yûkyôden (1967)
- Hibotan bakuto ("Red Peony Gambler") (1968) (c. 2006). Retrieved on May 24, 2010.
- Kyôdai jingi gyakuen no sakazuki (1968)
- Yôen dokufu-den hannya no ohyaku (1968)
- Bakuto retsuden (1968)
- Kaettekita gokudo (1968)
- Ballad of Murder (1968)
- Wicked Priest (1968)
- Nunnery Confidential (1968)
- Bakuchi-uchi: Socho tobaku (1968)
- Gendai yakuza: Yotamono no okite (1968)
- Memoir of Japanese Assassins (1969)
- Tabi ni deta gokudo (1969)
- Boss (1969)Desjardins, C. (2005): Outlaw masters of Japanese film (p. 8). London: Tauris. (ISBN 978-1-8451-1086-4)
- Nihon jokyo-den: Kyokaku geisha (1969)
- Nihon ansatsu hiroku (1969)
- Red Peony: The Hanafuda Game (1969)
- Matteita gokudo (1969)
- Gokudô bôzu: Nenbutsu hitokiri tabi (1969)