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Tomisaburo Wakayama

Tomisaburo Wakayama (若山富三郎, 1929 - April 2, 1992) was a Japanese actor, best known for playing Ogami Ittō, the disgraced, scowling, 17th century ronin in the six Kozure Okami (Lone Wolf and Cub) samurai feature movies.

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Early life

Tomisaburo Wakayama was born into a family of Kabuki performers. He and his younger brother Shintaro Katsu both followed their father in the theatre. Tomisaburo tired of this, and at 13, he began to study judo and became 4th Dan black belt, eventually giving up theatre altogether. He spent most of his time teaching Judo until the Japanese film company Toho recruited him as a new martial arts star in their jidaigeki movies.

Acting career

He prepared for these movies by practicing other disciplines such as Kenpo, Iaido, Kendo, or Bo-Jitsu. All this helped him for his most famous role: Ogami Itto, the Lone Wolf. After that, Tomisaburo starred in many films, performing in a variety of roles. It has been estimated that he appeared in between 250 to 500 films, though there is no clear record of them. His only roles in American movies were as a baseball coach in The Bad News Bears Go To Japan and as a Yakuza boss playing opposite Michael Douglas in Ridley Scott's Black Rain.

Death

Tomisaburo Wakayama died of acute heart failure in a Kyoto hospital on April 2, 1992. His death at the age of 62 cut short his chance to develop his acting career in the West, however his Lone Wolf films have a cult following and he is remembered for his most celebrated role as the wandering ronin, Lone Wolf.

Partial Filmography

Tomisaburo Wakayama starring in Lone Wolf and Cub movie series
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Bakuchi uchi (1967)
  • Hokkai yûkyôden (1967)
  • Red Peony Gambles Her Life (1968)
  • 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)
  • Japan Organized Crime Boss (1969)
  • 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)
  • Blind Yakuza Monk (1970)
  • Bakuchi-uchi: Nagaremono (1970)
  • Underground Syndicate (1970)
  • Shiruku hatto no ô-oyabun (1970)
  • Shiruku hatto no ô-oyabun: chobi-hige no kuma (1970)
  • Thugs of Shinjuku (1970)
  • Gokuaku bozu nenbutsu sandangiri (1970)
  • Gokudo Kamagasaki ni kaeru (1970)
  • Gokudo kyojo tabi (1970)
  • Hakurai jingi: Kapone no shatei (1970)
  • Nihon boryoku-dan: kumicho kuzure (1970)
  • Saigo no tokkôtai (1970)
  • A Boss with the Samurai Spirit (1971)
  • Gamblers in Okinawa (1971) (International: English title)
  • Bakuto kirikomi-tai (1971)
  • Boryokudan sai buso (1971)
  • Kizudarake no seishun (1971)
  • Nippon akuninden (1971)
  • Nihon yakuza-den: Sôchiyô e no michi (1971)
  • Bakuchi-uchi: Inochi-huda (1971)
  • Cherry Blossom Fire Gang (1972)
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Perambulator of the River of Sanzu (1972)
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Perambulator Against the Winds of Death (1972)
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: In Peril (1972)
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Land of Demons (1973)
  • Kamagasaki gokudo (1973)
  • ESPY (1974)
  • Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974)
  • Datsugoku Hiroshima satsujinshû (1974)
  • Gokudo VS furyô banchô (1974)
  • Gokudo VS Mamushi (1974)
  • Bôryoku kinmyaku (1975)
  • Devil's Bouncing Ball Song (1977)
  • Edogawa Rampo no injû (1977)
  • Torakku yarô: Otoko ippiki momojirô (1977)
  • Sugata Sanshiro (1977)
  • Hi no Tori/The Phoenix (1978)
  • Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
  • Oh My Son (1979)
  • Distant Tomorrow (1979)
  • Shogun Assassin (1980)
  • The Gate of Youth (1981)
  • Samurai Reincarnation (1981)
  • Flames of Blood (1981)
  • Conquest (1982)
  • The Shootout (1982)
  • Irezumi: Spirit of Tattoo (1982)
  • Theatre of Life (1983)
  • Shôsetsu Yoshida gakko (1983)
  • Hakujasho (1983)
  • Story of the Yamashita Boy (1985)
  • A Promise (1986)
  • Shinran: Path to Purity (1987)
  • Black Rain (1989)
  • Jotei: Kasuga no tsubone (1990)
  • Checkmate (1991)
v • d • eLone Wolf and CubBaby Cart films: Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance(1972) • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx(1972) • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades(1972) • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril(1972) • Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons(1973) • Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell(1974) • Shogun Assassin(first and second films combined, 1980) Television:List of Lone Wolf and Cub episodesPeople: Goseki KojimaKazuo KoikeShintaro Katsu• Tomisaburo Wakayama Related: Baby transportBushidoDark Horse ComicsJidaigekiSamurai ExecutionerKill BillRoad to PerditionTokugawa shogunateYagyū Clan Categories: 1929 births | 1992 deaths | Japanese actors

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