10 Best Japanese Male Actors

Thursday, March 31 by Lauren Reinhard

Hollywood has much to brag about in terms of acting chops, but Japan can brag about their 10 best Japanese male actors. These men are the pride of Japan and the center of Japanese cinema. From action stars to comedy heroes to dramatic leading men, these actors make work that dazzle, delight and inspire movie going crowds all over the world.

  1. Koichi Sato Coming from a legendary acting family, Sato does not disappoint as one of the best Japanese male actors around. Sato made his first television appearance when he was only 20 years old and has continued to work in movies like “Seishun no Mon” and “Mibu Gishi Den” ever since.
  2. Ryo Kase Ryo Kase is a popular actor in Japan starring in both films and television. Kase works primarily in Japan in films like "Hush!" and "Kakuto," although has branched out working on American films like “Letters From Iwo Jima.”
  3. Seizo Fukumoto Focusing his skill on Japanese samurai, Fukumoto is one of the most in-demand actors in Japan. He is also undoubtedly one of the best Japanese male actors around. Staring in the Hollywood film “The Last Samurai,” Fukumoto became an overnight international sensation. His other films include "Ode to Joy" and "Another Battle."
  4. Tomohisa Yamashita Also known as “Yamapi,” Yamashita is one of the best Japanese male actors around. In addition to acting he is also an accomplished singer. Yamashita has appeared in “Buzzer Beat” and “Code Blue.”
  5. Kazunari Ninomiya Ninomiya is one of the biggest stars in Japan and is easily one of the best Japanese male actors. He has been seen in films like "Kiiroi Namida" and "Letters From Iwo Jima." In addition to working in film, Ninomiya also works on stage, on radio and as a songwriter.
  6. Shigeki Hosokawa Hosokawa began his career in modeling and quickly moved into the world of cinema. He made his first acting appearance in a J-drama on TBS which he followed by doing a Japanese game show. His most famous movie to date is the film “Great Teacher Onizuka.”
  7. Ken Watanabe As a star in “The Last Samurai,” some feel that Watanabe stole the film from Tom Cruise; Watanabe went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for his work on the film. He has also been seen in films like "Inception" and "Shanghai." Watanabe is undoubtedly one of the best Japanese male actors working today.
  8. Masato Sakai A popular actor, Sakai is also very unpredictable. His roles are extremely varied in range playing everything from silly sidekicks to dramatic leading men. He has appeared in such films as "Lush Life," "The Wall Man" and "Sky High."
  9. Joe Odagiri Joe Odagiri is one of the most popular and best Japanese male actors working on screen today. He is easily recognized for his unique style of dress and off beat haircuts. Odagiri started acting in Japan on stage before being turned into an overnight star playing a lead role in the Kamen-Rider movies. Other film credits include "Platonic Sex," "Terrors" and "Pacchigi!"
  10. Takeshi Kitano Kitano is one of the most popular comedic actors in Japan. Some of his best known films are “Kikujiro,” “Brother” and “Sonatine.” Now a professor at a fine arts school, Kitano is still acting, writing, editing and directing.

COMMENTS

  1. March 31, 2011 7:55 pm

    Anonymous

    The inclusion of Tomohisa Yamashita makes this list irrelevant.


  2. March 31, 2011 7:55 pm

    Anonymous

    oh hey! discus noob double post


  3. March 31, 2011 7:55 pm

    Scarlow4

    How you failed to put Koji Yakusho on this list is beyond me. He may be the best actor on this list. He is known internationally for Shall We Dance?, Babel and Memoirs of a Geisha, but has been spot on in the films of Shohei Iwamura and Kiyoshi Kurosawa.


  4. March 31, 2011 7:55 pm

    Fanny_hina

    ninomiya……..