"Letters from Iwo Jima" Movie Cast

(Photo left) KEN WATANABE as General Kuribayashi in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and DreamWorks Pictures’ World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima,” directed by Clint Eastwood. Photo by Merie W. Wallace, SMPSP

KEN WATANABE (General Tadamichi Kuribayashi) gained worldwide recognition and a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination in 2004 for his memorable portrayal of Katsumoto, the warrior in Edward Zwick’s 2003 epic “The Last Samurai,” opposite Tom Cruise. Watanabe also received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Supporting Actor and a Golden Globe Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for that film, which marked his Hollywood film debut.

Watanabe most recently starred opposite Ziyi Zhang, Michelle Yeoh and Gon Li in Rob Marshall’s adaptation of Arthur Golden’s critically acclaimed best-selling novel, Memoirs of a Geisha. He also joined Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson and Michael Caine in 2005’s “Batman Begins,” playing the immortal criminal genius Ra’s Al Ghul for director Christopher Nolan.

Watanabe began his career with the Tokyo-based theater company En. His lead performance in the company’s production of “Shitaya-Mannen-cho Monogatari,” directed by Yukio Ninagawa, caught the attention of critics and the Japanese public alike. He also starred in the international comedy hit “Tampopo” (1985), directed by Juzo Itami. He made his television debut with “Michinaru Hanran” (Unknown Rebellion) (TBS), in 1982. His formidable screen presence in the Samurai drama series “Dokuganryu Masamume” (NHK), led to additional roles in historical shows, such as “Oda Nobunaga” (NHK) and “Chushingura” (TBS), and the film “Bakumatsu Junjou Den” (1991).

Other credits include “Ikebukuro West Gate Park” (TBS), “Space Travelers” and “Oboreru Sakana (Drowning Fish)” (2001). In February 2003, Watanabe was seen in “Shin Jinginaki Tatakai/Bosatsu” (Fight Without Loyalty/Murder), an updated version of the popular Yakuza movie series.

Watanabe presently stars in the Japanese film “Memories of Tomorrow,” which premiered on November 2nd at the AFI Film Festival.

(Photo: left) AZUNARI NINOMIYA as Saigo in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and DreamWorks Pictures’ World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima,” directed by Clint Eastwood. Photo by Merie W. Wallace, SMPSP

KAZUNARI NINOMIYA (Saigo) was born in Tokyo in 1983. He made his professional debut in 1999 with a CD single, “AÅERAÅESHI,” as a member of Arashi, a very popular group of Johnny and Associates Co., Ltd. This single became a million-selling hit. He has been performing nationwide tours every year since 2000, while simultaneously increasing his activities as an actor and personality in movies, television and radio broadcasts, stage and commercials.

He has appeared in such films as “PikaÅônchi Life Is Hard Dakedo Happy” (2002), “ Ao no Hono” (2003) and “PikaÅôÅônchi Life is Hard Dakara Happy” (2004). He also appeared in TV dramas such as “Namida wo Fuite”(CX), “Handoku!!!” (TBS), “Stand UP!!” (TBS), “Netsuretsu teki Chuka Hanten” (CX), “Minami kun no Koibito” (EX) and “Yasashii Jikan” (CX). In March 2006 he took the main role in the television drama “Sukoshi wa, ongaeshi dekitakana” (TBS), which depicted the true story of Kazunori Kitahara, who fought against a Ewing sarcoma for 22 months. His performance was highly acclaimed.

On the stage, he played in “Stand by Me,” “Faraway From Shibuya,” written and directed by Yukio Ninagawa; and “Rebel Without A Cause.”

Ninomiya currently stars in the television programs “Mago mago Arashi” (CX), and “Arashi no Shukudai Kun” (NTV), and in the radio broadcast “BAY STORM” (bayfm). He will next dub the main actor, Kuro, in the animated film “Tekkon Kinkreet,” which will be released in December. Next spring, he will appear in “Yellow Tears,” written and directed by Isshin Inudou.

TSUYOSHI IHARA (Baron Nishi) was born in Fukuoka in 1963. He joined or Japan Action Club (JAC) in 1982 and made his stage debut in “Midnight Party” in 1983. He gained wide recognition through his popular performance in NHK’s “Futarikko,” a morning serial television drama.
He has appeared in such movies as “Bakayaro! Watashi Okotte masu” (1988), “Yonshimai Monogatari” (1995), “Abunai Deka Returns” (1996), “Heroine! Naniwa Bombers” (1998), “Suki” (2000), “All About Our House” (2001), “Han-ochi (Half of Confession)” (2004) and “Hinagon” (2005), among others.

He was a regular in many television programs, including “Birthday” (TX), “Kinyoubi no koibitotachi he” (TBS), “Kuuron de Aimasho” (EX), “Kochira Honikegamisho” (TBS), “Koi ha Tatakai!” (EX), “Shinsengumi!” (NHK), “Last Christmas” (CX), “Magarikado no Kanojo” (KTV), “Shiawaseni naritai!” (TBS), ”Hotaru no Haka” (NTV), which was one of a special drama complex for the 60th anniversary of the end of the Pacific War and “Kuroi Taiyo” (EX).

He has also performed consistently on the stage since 1993 for such popular dramas and renowned directors as “Hong Kong Rhapsody,” by Amon Miyamoto; “Dah! Dah! Dah!,” “Okepi” and “Hikoma ga yuku,” by Koki Mitani; “Tora Hideo Noda’s Kokusenyakkasen,” by Hideki Noda; and “Roningai,” by Kazuya Yamada.

He will soon co-star with Ryo Kase, who also appears in “Letters from Iwo Jima,” in “Sakebi (Retribution)” written and directed by Kiyoshi Kurozawa, in spring.

(Photo: left) RYO KASE as Shimizu in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and DreamWorks Pictures’ World War II drama “Letters from Iwo Jima,” directed by Clint Eastwood. Photo by Merie W. Wallace, SMPSP

RYO KASE (Shimizu) was born in Kanagawa in 1974. He made his film debut in “Gojo Reisenki” in 2000. Since then, he has been very active in over 40 movies, as well as television and commercials. Among his film credits are “Rock’n’ Roll Mishin” (2002), “Kakuto” (2002), “Bright Future” (2003), “Cutie Honey” (2004), “69” (2004), “Cha no Aji” (2004), “Nobody Knows” (2004), “Niwatori wa Hadahi da” (2004), ”Pacchigi!” (2005), “Female” (a short film ‘Tamamushi’) (2005) and “About Love” (2005). He took leading roles in “Antena” (2004) and “Scrap Heaven” (2005) and won the Best Main Actor Award at the 2005 Japan Film Professional Awards.

In 2006 he published his first book Bellevue Ryo Kase, through MEDIA FACTORY, INC., to national attention.

In addition to “Letters from Iwo Jima,” he has already appeared in six films this year, including “su-ki-da,” “Funky Forest the First Contact,” “Strawberry Shortcakes,” “Hana yori mo Naho,” “Honey&Clover,” and “The Passenger.” His latest movie is “Sakebi (Retribution)” which had an official screening at the Venice International Film Festival.

He is scheduled for the stage production of “Kanasii Yokan,” written by Banana Yoshimoto and directed by Shinya Tsukamoto, and will soon take lead roles in the films “I Just I Didn’t Do It,” written and directed by Masayuki Suo, and “Invitation from Orion.”

SHIDOU NAKAMURA (Lieutenant Ito) was born in Tokyo in 1972. His father is Mikio Ogawa, the third son of Tokizo Nakamura III, a descendant from a distinguished Kabuki family, who enjoyed wide popularity as a kabuki star in the Showa Era. He made his stage debut at age eight at Kabuki-za, and succeeded to the name of Shidou Nakamura, the second. Although he was born and grew up in the status and traditional society of Kabuki, his talents encompass work in films, TV, stage and music.

He made a strong impact in the Japanese film industry through his performance as Dragon in “Ping Pong” in 2002, earning almost all the domestic Best New Actor awards, including the 45th Blue Ribbon Awards. Consequently, he received the 27th Award of the Japanese Academy Best Supporting Actor in 2003 for the movie “Like Asura,” and Nikkan Film Sports Awards Best Supporting Actor in 2004 for “Be with you.”

Additionally, he has appeared in such films as “Iden&Tity” (2003), “All About My Dog” (2004), “Neighbour No.13” (2004), “Arashi no Yoruni” (2005), “Yamato” (2005), “Fearless” (2006), “Death Note” (2006), “Death Note the Last Name” (2006), and “Honey & Clover” (2006). In “Fearless,” he starred with the worldwide star Jet Li.

He also played in television dramas such as “Kisarazu Cat’s Eye” (TBS), “Shinsengumi!” (NHK), “Tangesazen” (NTV), ”HR”(CX), “True Record of Lieutenant Onoda” (CX), “Tenkasouran Tokugawasandai no Inbou” (TX) and “Death Note,” an animated program (NTV). On the stage, he received critical acclaim for his performance of Yagoemonn Akausikana in “Roningai.” He had the lead in “Tangesazen,” shown at Shinbashi Enbujyo, and, this year, was the lead in “Mori no Ishimatsu.”

NAE (Hanako) was born in Yokohama and made her debut as a singer in 1990. Since then, she has added acting to her professional repertoire. Among the films in which she has appeared are “Ai mai me”(1990), “Asatte Dansu” (1991), “A Class to Remember” (1993), “Shishiou tachi no Saigo” (1993), “Salaried worker Senka” (1995), “A Brief Message from the Heart” (1995), “Diary of Early Winter Shower” (1998), “Kanzo Sensei” (1998), “Artful Dogers” (1998), “Oshimai no hi” (2000), “Rain of Light” (2001), “Picaresque” (2002), “The Reason” (2004), “Ultraman" (2004) and “Inland Empire” (2006), directed by David Lynch.

Her television credits include roles in “Fuzoroi no Ringotachi”(TBS), “Kitano kuni kara ’92 Sudachi”(CX), “Pokeberu ga Naranakute”(NTV), “Hino ataru Basho”(CX), “Kokubetsu”(BS-i), “Aoki fukushu no Hana”(NHK) and “Chotto matte Kamisama”(NHK).

Her stage roles include the musical “Tea for Two,” Shakespeare’s “Hachinin de sagasu Ria ou” (King Lear), Neil Simon’s “Jinger bread Lady,” Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” Franz Kafka’s “Amerika,” John Mighton’s “Possible World,” “Tenohira no Kobito” and “Burai no Nyoubou.”

In 2004, she was sent to Greece by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs for one year as an overseas trainee to study Greek Tragedies and other plays.

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Open Date: December 20, 2006
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