- 21 October 1959
- Uonuma, Japan
Both of Ken Watanabe's parents were teachers: his mother taught general education and his dad taught calligraphy. He became interested in acting at the age of 24 when a director of England's National Theatre Company, where he was studying, told him that acting was his special gift. Ken is mostly known in Japan for playing samurais. He incorporates the samurai's values in his daily life by not amassing too many material possessions and by living his life with honor, pride and discipline. The Last Samurai (2003), the film that introduced him to Western audiences, was his fourth film released in 2003, and he has also starred in roles as a gangster, a businessmen and a general. Ken is currently separated from his wife and has two children, a daughter who is working as a model and one son.