Kensaku Watanabe was born on the 21st October 1959 in Koide, Niigata, Japan, and is an actor who, as Ken Watanabe, is internationally recognized for his roles in Hollywood blockbusters such as “The Last Samurai” (2003), “Batman Begins” (2005) and “Inception” (2010).
Have you ever wondered how much wealth this Japanese actor has accumulated so far? How rich Ken Watanabe is? According to sources, it is estimated that the total of Ken Watanabe’s net worth, as of mid-2017, revolves around the sum of $20 million, acquired through his acting career which has been active since 1979.
Ken Watanabe Net Worth $20 million
Ken was born into a family of teachers, and due to his parents’ profession, he spent his childhood often relocating across the entire width Japan. His interest in music dates back to his early age, when he learned to play trumpet, which he continued to play during his high school days at Niigata Prefectural High School, from which he matriculated in 1978. He later enrolled at Musashino Academia Musicae but, because of his fathers illness, was forced to abandoned it. Later that year, Ken joined the theater troupe named En, and shortly after was cast for the main role in Yukio Ninagawa’s stage play “Shimodani Mannencho Monogatari”. This engagement helped Ken Watanabe to establish himself as a young, promising actor, and also provided the basis for his current net worth.
Ken’s debut TV appearance occurred in 1982, in “Michinaru Hanran” and subsequently in a role of samurai in the “Mibu no koiuta” TV series. His big screen debut came in 1984 with the appearance in war drama “MacArthur’s Children”. These were followed by several other appearances as a samurai warrior, including the leading role of Date Masamune in 50 episodes of “Dokugan-ryu Masamune” TV series in 1987. Through the 1990s, Watanabe managed to keep a continuous streak of acting engagements, appearing in several popular Japanese movies such as “Oda Nobunaga” (1992) and “Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald” (1997), as well as TV series which include “Baian the Assassin” and “Gokenin Zankurō”. All these ventures made a huge impact on Ken Watanabe’s net worth.
The international breakthrough in Ken’s acting career occurred in 2003, when has was cast for the role of samurai Lord Moritsugu Katsumoto in Edward Zwick’s epic movie, the historical drama “The Last Samurai”, opposite Tom Cruise in the leading role. For this performance, Watanabe was honored with the prestigious Academy Award as well as Golden Globe Award nominations. In 2005, Ken starred alongside Christian Bale, Liam Neeson, Micheal Caine and Gary Oldman in Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster “Batman Begins”, as well as Chairman Iwamura in the triple Oscar-winning drama “Memoirs of a Geisha”. These were followed by appearances in “Memories of Tomorrow”, for which he was rewarded with the Japanese Academy Award, and the role of General Kuribayashi in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning war drama “Letters from Iwo Jima”. It is certain that all these appearances helped Ken Watanabe to dramatically increase his worldwide popularity as well as net worth.
Watanabe has since added several more notable roles to his acting portfolio, including appearances in movies such as “Shanghai” (2010), “Inception” (2010), “Unforgiven” (2013) as well as blockbusters “Godzilla” (2014) and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (2014). Doubtlessly, all these achievements have helped Ken Watanabe to further increase his wealth.
When it comes to his personal life, Ken Watanabe has married twice – between 1983 and 2005, he was married to Yumiko with whom he has two children, son Dai who is also an actor and daughter Anne who is a fashion model. Since December 2005, he has been married to a colleague, actress and producer, Kaho Minami.
In the early 1990s, Ken was diagnosed with leukemia, but managed to recover from it, while in 2016 he was faced with a stomach cancer diagnosis.
With 'Letters from Iwo Jima,' then 'Memories of Tomorrow,' I reached a sort of turning point in my acting. I had poured so much of myself into those movies that I really had no idea where to go from there.
If the script is good, the cast and director good, I'll go anywhere.
About half the scripts sent to me feature characters I just can't identify with, particularly one-dimensional businessmen or, if it's a comedy, some absurd 10-year-old Japanese stereotype, some role related to IT or business... There's no point in getting mad about it; it's just the way things are.
As a Japanese actor, I really want to work with a lot of actors and actresses in the world and many directors who have many different kinds of talents. I feel like nationally doesn't matter at all.
Each director is different. Clint Eastwood and Chris Nolan are completely different, and I need to adjust to the story and character and the director and just my duty as an actor.
I have no sense of myself as a sex symbol at all. But the meaning of sex symbol might be a little different in Japan to elsewhere. The Japanese version seems to come with a stronger emphasis on a sort of grownup or mature male charm. And if that's the case, then I guess I'm happy to hear it.
I'm not a big star in Japan. I'm an actor. I have a very normal life. Four days a week, I cook at home. A star doesn't do that.