Oh no ūüôĀ

Ken Watanabe, the Japanese actor who is known for his performances in “The Last Samurai”, “Memoirs of a Geisha”, and Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” and “Inception”, is battling stomach cancer. The 56-year-old star confirmed the news via his Japanese Twitter account.

Source: wtop

Ken said that the early-stage cancer was found in a medical checkup. His publicist confirmed the illness and revealed¬†that the actor has since underwent endoscopic surgery and is currently recuperating. As such, Ken¬†will have to postpone plans to return to Broadway’s “The King and I”.


“I was really shocked, my wife and daughter pushed me to have a health check and the cancer was found. It was a very early stage and they operated immediately,” he said.

But Ken promised that he’d be back.¬†“I hate to worry you, but please wait,” he tweeted in Japanese.

Source: newyork.com
Source: newyork.com

He also said that he was grateful to his wife, actress Kaho Minami, for having recommended a checkup, and to his daughter, also an actress, for recommending a doctor.

This is not the first time that he’s battling¬†cancer. Ken had acute myeloid leukemia about 20 years ago and a relapse but he has continued working regularly since.

Ken is one of the only Japanese actors who has made it on the international stage. His role of a rebel samurai in the Tom Cruise-led film, “The Last Samurai”, earned him an Academy Award nomination for “Best Supporting Actor”.¬†More recently, he¬†received his first Tony nomination for “Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical” at the 69th Tony Awards for his role as The King in “The King and I”. He is the first Japanese actor to be nominated in this category

Source: phactual.com
Source: phactual.com

Before his arrival in Hollywood, he acted in a range of Japanese films including the award-winning “The Sea and Poison” (1986), which focused on the serious topic of biological experiments the Japanese carried out on American prisoners of war.

English-speaking audiences would remember him best¬†for his tragic hero characters but he also took part in more light-hearted works, such as Juzo Itami’s “Tampopo,” a deliciously colourful film about a noodle restaurant, and Japanese samurai films and TV shows as well.

Here’s to wishing him a super speedy recovery. Get well soon, Ken!


Sources: Reuters via CNA, CBS News, Huffington Post / Featured image from wtop.

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