Japanese Actor Ken Ogata Dies at 71

Ken Ogata, one of Japan’s most renowned actors, has died at the age of 71 due to liver cancer.

Ogata was known for his long-standing collaboration with director Shohei Imamura and more recent work with directors such as Peter Greenaway and Paul Schrader.

Japanese actor Ken Ogata, who starred in a number of films for the great director Shohei Imamura, died of liver cancer on Sunday. He was 71.

Ogata is perhaps best known to an international audience for his role in Imamura’s The Ballad of Narayama, in which he played a man who, by village tradition, has to leave his elderly mother up a nearby mountain to die; the film won the Palme d’Or and Ogata won the Japanese equivalent of the best actor Oscar in 1984. In total he was nominated 11 times for the gong, winning three times. Other collaborations with Imamura include Vengeance Is Mine (1979), Eijanaika (1981) and Zegen (1987).

Ogata also starred in Peter Greenaway’s 1996 drama The Pillow Book and Paul Schrader’s 1985 biopic Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, in which he played the controversial writer Yukio Mishima. A private funeral was due to be held today. His two sons, Kanta and Naoto, also actors, survive him.

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