Ryu Gan, Masami Okumura
29 November 1931 (
Fukagawa, Tokyo, Japan
Actor, singer, producer, writer and director
June 21, 1997, Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
Tamao Nakamura (m. 1962–1997)
The Tale of Zatoichi, The Hoodlum Soldier, New Tale of Zatoichi, Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo, Hitokiri
[Actor.jp] 勝新太郎, Shintaro Katsu
- Actorjp Shintaro Katsu
- Enchanted Princess 1959 Raizo Ichikawa Shintaro Katsu
- Life and career
Enchanted Princess 1959 Raizo Ichikawa, Shintaro Katsu
Life and career
Born Toshio Okumura (奥村 利夫 Okumura Toshio) on 29 November 1931. He was the son of kabuki performer Katsutoji Kineya (Kineya Katsutōji) who was renowned for his nagauta and shamisen skills, and younger brother of actor Tomisaburo Wakayama (Wakayama Tomisaburō).
Shintaro Katsu began his career in entertainment as a shamisen player. He switched to acting because he noticed it was better paid. In the 1960s he starred simultaneously in three long-running series of films, the Akumyo series, the Hoodlum Soldier series, and the Zatoichi series.
He played the role of blind masseur Zatoichi in a series of films in 25 movies between 1962 and 1973, starred and directed a 26th in 1989 and played the role in four seasons of a spin-off television series.
After the closing of Daiei Studios, Katsu formed the company Katsu Productions.
He had also developed a reputation as a troublemaker on set. When director Akira Kurosawa cast him for the lead role in Kagemusha (1980), Katsu left before the first day of shooting was over. Though accounts differ as to the incident, the most consistent one details Katsu's clash with Kurosawa regarding bringing his own film crew to the set (to film Kurosawa in action for later exhibition to his own acting students). Kurosawa is reputed to have taken great offense at this, resulting in Katsu's termination (he was replaced by Tatsuya Nakadai). In her recent book, Waiting on the Weather, about her experiences with director Kurosawa, script supervisor Teruyo Nogami chalks the differences between Katsu and Kurosawa up to a personality clash that had unfortunate artistic results.
He was the husband of actress Tamao Nakamura (married in 1962), and father of actor Ryutaro Gan (Gan Ryūtarō).
Stunt actor Yukio Kato was killed on the set of Zatoichi 26 by Katsu's son, who was co-starring, when an actual sword was mistaken for a prop, fatally wounding Kato.
In her book, Geisha, A Life, Kyoto geisha Mineko Iwasaki claimed to have had a long time affair with Katsu, whom she calls by his given name, Toshio. The affair ended in 1976, and eventually the two became good friends until his death.
Katsu produced the manga-based Lone Wolf and Cub (Kozure Okami) series of jidaigeki films starring his brother Tomisaburo Wakayama which were later compiled into the movie Shogun Assassin, as well as co-writing, producing, and acting alongside his brother in the TV series Oshi samurai (Mute Samurai).
His other television work includes the police drama Keishi-K (Superintendent K) which he starred in (as Katsutoshi Gatsu), co-wrote, directed, and produced. His daughter, Masami Okumura, co-starred.
He died of pharyngeal cancer on 21 June 1997.
The character Fujitora in the manga series One Piece is based on him.