Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Japanese Actor Yoshio Harada dead at 71

I was saddened tonight to learn that famous Japanese actor Yoshio Harada died. (February 29, 1940-July 19, 2011). He died of pnemonia and looked well until only recently when he dramatically lost weight. He worked until the end and his last film was released only three days ago. He was an extremely recognizable actor with more than a hundred movies to his credit. He was most famous for his strong, stoic roles. He played a strict father-like figure in the action movie Azumi with Aya Uedo and a similar role in Dororo with Kou Shibasaki. Both were sword-weilding period fantasies. But I knew Harada long before coming to Japan from the action movie The Hunted with Christopher Lambert from Highlander and asian actor John Lone. Christopher Lambert's character is being hunted by ninja assassins and Harada's samurai-like sword expert must protect him, but has an agenda of his own.  There's a great scene where Harada takes on a bunch of ninja on a shinkansen train. He also has several lines in English. He walks in on Lambert and the drunken sword maker practicing swords. When asked what he's doing, Lambert says, "Nothing, just killing time.", Harada responds, "Time cannot die, only people." It was also the first movie I heard the saying, "Sometimes, monkeys fall out of trees." He will be missed. Check out thisscene. Soo! cool.

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