- serial killer
- samurai warrior
- (be) honored
- star in ～
- "The Eel"
- 「うなぎ」（１９９７年）（後出 "Babel" は 「バベル」〈米・２００６年〉、"Memoirs of a Geisha" は「ＳＡＹＵＲＩ」〈米・２００５年〉）
- Palme d'Or
- unparalleled versatility
- 姓（後出 given name は名）
- public works section
- civil servant
- catching a ... train
Man of Many Parts
His film roles range from police officer to serial killer, dashing characters to self-destructive losers, a samurai warrior to an ordinary "salaryman," as Japanese office workers are called. But through all his work in Japan and Hollywood, Yakusho Koji has found what he must do as an actor remains surprisingly the same.
"It's lonely," he said recently. "You're before a camera, and you have to do something, and you can't make mistakes.
"You can't ever totally become a character, but you must get as close to that person as possible, and that moment you feel you are him － you make sure you don't lose that moment."
Yakusho, who is being honored at the Tokyo International Film Festival running from Oct. 25 to Nov. 3, has worked with legends of Japanese film. He starred in Imamura Shohei's "The Eel," which won the 1997 Palme d'Or at Cannes. He also appeared in "Babel" and "Memoirs of a Geisha."
"Yakusho Koji is Japan's leading international actor, demonstrating unparalleled versatility in wide-ranging roles across every genre," said the festival's program adviser Ando Kohei on why Yakusho's work was being highlighted at the festival.
In a recent interview in Tokyo, Yakusho, 62, said with a laugh it's true his mentor Nakadai Tatsuya picked his professional surname years ago. He was working in the public works section of the local government office, or "yakusho," of Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward, when he joined a theater group that Nakadai ran.
Nakadai had hoped the civil servant-turned-actor would go on to play many roles. "Yaku" means role, while the first character in Koji, his real given name, has the meaning for "wide."
Yakusho notes he is one movie star with the regular-person experience of catching a rush-hour commuter train. "We are all aware of the perspective of extremely regular people. That's something we are always thinking about and trying to observe," he said. (AP)
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