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Bunta Sugawara

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Occupation  Actor
Parents  Jiro Hazama
Role  Actor

Name  Bunta Sugawara
Years active  1956–2012
Children  Kaoru Sugawara
Bunta Sugawara An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla On Bunta

Born  August 16, 1933 (1933-08-16) Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Died  November 28, 2014, Tokyo, Japan
Spouse  Fumiko Sugawara (m. ?–2014)
Movies  Battles Without Honor an, Spirited Away, Taiyo o Nusunda Otoko, Tales from Earthsea, Street Mobster
Similar People  Ken Takakura, Kaoru Sugawara, Kunie Tanaka, Kinji Fukasaku, Noboru Ando

Bunta sugawara tribute

Bunta Sugawara (菅原 文太, Sugawara Bunta, (1933-08-16)August 16, 1933 – November 28, 2014) was a Japanese actor who appeared in almost 200 feature films. He is the father of one son, actor Kaoru Sugawara, and two daughters.


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Life and career

Bunta Sugawara Bunta Sugawara Rotten Tomatoes

Bunta Sugawara was born in Sendai in 1933. His parents divorced when he was four, and he moved to Tokyo to live with his father and stepmother. As part of a wartime policy to evacuate children from major cities, he was moved back to Sendai during fourth grade. As an adult he entered Waseda University's law program, but was dropped in his second year for failing to pay and began work as a model in 1956.

Bunta Sugawara An Eternal Thought in the Mind of Godzilla Bunta Sugawara

His first acting role was in the 1956 Toho film Aishu no Machi ni Kiri ga Furu. Sugawara appeared in Teruo Ishii's 1958 White Line after being scouted by the Shintoho studio. At Shintoho he gained starring roles despite being a newcomer. However, when Shintoho filed for bankruptcy in 1961, Sugawara moved to the Shochiku studio where he was cast in Masahiro Shinoda's Shamisen and Motorcycle, but was fired from the role for coming to set late after a night drinking. He gave a notable performance in Keisuke Kinoshita's Legend of a Duel to the Death (1963), but it did not fare well at the box office. Disenchanted with the low pay, and what he felt were unsuitable roles, he left and went to Toei in 1967 after being recommended by Noboru Ando.

Bunta Sugawara Portrait Of Pirates The Collection A Tribute to Bunta Sugawara

He had a part in Ishii's 1967 Abashiri Bangaichi: Fubuki no Toso, one of many films in the director's Abashiri Prison series. Sugawara's first starring role at Toei was in Gendai Yakuza: Yotamono no Okite in 1969. It launched a series, with the last installment, 1972's Street Mobster by Kinji Fukasaku, being the most successful. He achieved major success in 1973 at the age of 40, when he starred in Fukasaku's five-part yakuza epic Battles Without Honor and Humanity. Based on a real-life yakuza conflict in Hiroshima, the series was very successful, and popularized a new type of yakuza film called the Jitsuroku eiga, and the role of Shōzō Hirono still remains his most well known. Sugawara also starred in Fukasaku's Cops vs. Thugs in 1975. Also in 1975, he starred in the comedy Torakku Yarō: Go-Iken Muyō as a love-seeking truck driver, which launched a successful ten-installment series. Sugawara won the 1980 Japan Academy Prize for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a detective in Kazuhiko Hasegawa's 1979 satirical film Taiyō o Nusunda Otoko.

His son Kaoru died in a railroad crossing accident in October 2001.

On February 23, 2012, Sugawara announced his retirement from acting. He came to the decision after the Great East Japan earthquake and being hospitalized in the winter of 2011, although he said he might consider future roles. Late in life, he took up farming in Yamanashi Prefecture.

On December 1, 2014, it was announced that Sugawara had died from liver cancer in a Tokyo hospital on November 28, 2014.


  • Blood and Rules (1965)
  • Abashiri Bangaichi: Fubuki no Toso (1967)
  • Gendai Yakuza: Yotamono no Okite (1969)
  • Chōeki Tarō: Mamushi no Kyōdai (1971)
  • Gendai Yakuza: Hitokiri Yota aka Street Mobster (1972)
  • Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973)
  • Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima (1973)
  • Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Proxy War (1973)
  • Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Police Tactics (1974)
  • Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Final Episode (1974)
  • New Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1974)
  • Cops vs. Thugs (1975)
  • New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Head (1975)
  • Torakku Yarō: Goiken Muyō (1975)
  • New Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Boss's Last Days (1976)
  • Baka Masa Hora Masa Toppa Masa (1976)
  • Dynamite Dondon (1978)
  • Taiyō o Nusunda Otoko (1979)
  • The Gate of Youth (1981)
  • Honō no Gotoku (1981)
  • The Man Who Shot the Don (1994)
  • Watashi no Grandpa (2003)
  • Anime

  • Spirited Away (2001)
  • The Snow Queen (2005–2006)
  • Tales from Earthsea (2006)
  • Wolf Children (2012)
  • Television

  • Musashibō Benkei (1986) as Minamoto no Yoritomo
  • Takeda Shingen (1988) as Itagaki Nobukata
  • Furuhata Ninzaburō (1994) as Otojiro Kogure
  • Video games

  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy (2008) as Cid/Narrator
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy (2011) as Cid/Narrator
  • References

    Bunta Sugawara Wikipedia