KÅ?ji Yakusho (å½¹æ‰€ åºƒå?¸, Yakusho KÅ?ji?) is a Japanese actor.
Born KÅ?ji Hashimoto (æ©‹æœ¬ åºƒå?¸, Hashimoto KÅ?ji?) on January 1, 1956, in Isahaya, Nagasaki, Japan. He was the youngest of five brothers.
After graduation from the Nagasaki Prefectural High School of Technology in 1974, he took employment at the Chiyoda municipal ward office (the Chiyoda-Ku Yakusho) in Tokyo, hence the screen name "Yakusho," a Japanese word meaning "public office." In 1976, he saw a production of Maxim Gorky's The Lower Depths and was inspired, first to take in as many plays as possible, later to take part in as many plays as possible.
In the spring of 1978 he auditioned, and was 1 of 4 chosen out of 800 applicants to the Mumeijyuku acting studio. While at the school he met actress Kawatsu Saeko, whom he would marry in 1982. The couple's son was born in 1985.
In 1983 he landed the role of Oda Nobunaga in the year-long NHK drama Tokugawa Ieyasu and was catapulted to (moderate) fame. He has also appeared in a TV version of Miyamoto Musashi from 1984-85. For several years, he played Kuji Shinnosuke (or "Sengoku"), one of the title characters in the jidaigeki Sambiki ga Kiru!
Yakusho was given a special award for work in cinema by the Japanese Minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture in 1988.
Yakusho had four major successes in 1996-97: Shall We Dansu?, The Eel, Lost Paradise and Bounce ko-Gals (kogal is Japanese slang for a subculture of high school girls). Lost Paradise was second at the Japanese box office only to Princess Mononoke; The Eel won the Palm d'Or at Cannes. Shall We Dansu? was a major hit in Japan that actually inspired a domestic dance craze and an American remake. Bounce ko-gals was an insightful commentary on high school prostitution in specific, and money worship in general.
More recently, Yakusho has begun to find recognition with more international and American audiences, being cast in major roles in 2005's Memoirs of a Geisha (as "Nobu"), and 2006's Academy Award-nominated Babel.