Tadanobu Satō (佐藤 忠信, Satō Tadanobu, born November 27, 1973), better known by his stage name Tadanobu Asano (浅野 忠信, Asano Tadanobu), is a Japanese actor and musician.
He is known for his roles as Dragon Eye Morrison in Electric Dragon 80.000 V, Kakihara in Ichi the Killer, Mamoru Arita in Bright Future, Hattori Genosuke in Zatoichi, Kenji in Last Life in the Universe, A man in Survive Style 5+, Ayano in The Taste of Tea, Temujin in Mongol, Captain Yugi Nagata in Battleship, Lord Kira Yoshinaka in the 47 Ronin, and Hogun in Thor, based on the Marvel Comics character. In 2016, he appeared as the Interpreter in Martin Scorsese's Silence.
Asano was born in the Honmoku area of Yokohama to artist Yukihisa Satō (佐藤 幸久, Satō Yukihisa) and mother Junko (順子) whose father was Willard Overing, a U.S. citizen, whom Asano never met. He has Norwegian and Dutch ancestry through this maternal grandfather. Asano has an older brother, Kujun Satō, born in 1971, who is a musician and a partner in Anore Inc., a talent agency Asano and their father Yukihisa Satō founded.
His father, an actors' agent, suggested he take on his first acting role in the TV show Kinpachi Sensei at the age of 16. His film debut was in the 1990 Swimming Upstream (Bataashi Kingyo), though his first major critical success was in Shunji Iwai's Fried Dragon Fish (1993). His first critical success internationally was Hirokazu Koreeda's Maboroshi no Hikari (1995), in which he played a man who inexplicably throws himself in front of a train, widowing his wife and orphaning his infant son. He also worked with Koreeda in the pseudo-documentary Distance in 2001. His best known works internationally are the samurai films Gohatto (aka Taboo, 1999) and Zatoichi (2003), as well as the critically acclaimed Bright Future.
He acted in Katsuhito Ishii's 2003 film The Taste of Tea, which premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. He appeared as the lead actor in Last Life in the Universe (2003) by Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and starred in a follow-up film by Pen-Ek, Invisible Waves, in 2006. In 2007 he starred as the young Genghis Khan in Sergei Bodrov's Oscar-nominated film Mongol. In Villon's Wife (2009), he played the part of an alcoholic writer; he has stated that since he doesn't drink alcohol, he based his performance on people he knows, a lot of whom drink. In 2011, he starred in the Marvel Studios film Thor as the Asgardian warrior Hogun, a member of the Warriors Three and companion to Thor. He reprised the role in 2013's Thor: The Dark World.
In addition to his acting career, Asano directed commercial TV spots for his then-wife, Chara. He is a musician; he formed the band MACH-1.67 with director Sogo Ishii in 1996 and, from time to time, plays in the bands Peace Pill and Safari. He is an artist and a model, most notably for Japanese fashion designers Jun Takahashi and Takeo Kikuchi, for whom he filmed a series of commercial spots directed by Wong Kar-wai: one released under the name "wkw/tk/1996@7'55"hk.net".
Asano and his father run the actor's agency Anore Inc. which represents Japanese actors like Ryō Kase and Rinko Kikuchi.
Asano met J-Pop idol Chara on the set of Iwai's Picnic (1994). They were married in March 1995 and Chara became pregnant with their first child, Sumire, who was born on July 4. In 1999, they also had a son. In July 2009, Chara announced on her website that the couple would be getting an amicable divorce. She received custody of both their children.
He won the Most Popular Performer award at the 1997 Japanese Academy Awards for Acri and was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category in 2004 for his performance in Zatôichi. He also received the Upstream Prize for Best Actor at the 2003 Venice Film Festival for his role in Last Life in the Universe. In 2014 he won the award for Best Actor at the 36th Moscow International Film Festival for his role in My Man.