I was disappointed to learn that the talented Japanese actor Ken Ogata has passed away at the age of 71. Last year I spent a lot of time watching and writing about some of his earlier films and I was happy to discover that Criterion had recently released Paul Schrader’s Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters, which stars Ken Ogata as the legendary Japanese author Yukio Mishima.
I first became familar with Ken Ogata’s work in the ’90s in films such as Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985), Takashi Ishii’s Gonin 2 (1996) and Peter Greenaway’s The Pillow Book (1996). But it wasn’t until more recently that I really started appreciating his acting abilities after seeing his impressive performances in earlier films like The Demon (1978) and Vengeance Is Mine (1979).
The Japanese newspaper Mainichi Daily has a brief report about Ken Ogata’s death and Criterion currently has a nice tribute to the actor on their website. The Daily Greencine has also collected some links to various articles about Ogata’s death as well.
Update: From The Japan Times “Screen great Ken Ogata dead at 71 .”