Friday, February 19, 2010

Veteran actor Makoto Fujita, 1933-2010

by Chris MaGee

Another sad loss this week in the Japanese entertainment industry. Veteran TV and film actor Makoto Fujita, best known to Japanese audiences as Mondo the assassin in the 1970's TV Asahi series "Hissatsu Shiokinin" and to North American audiences for his role as real-life Class B war criminal Tasuku Okada in Takashi Koizumi's "Best Wishes for Tomorrow" (above), has died Wednesday of an aortic aneurysm in Suita City, Osaka Prefecture. He was 76-years-old.

Fujita, in a way, began his career in film at birth. The son of silent film star Rintaro Fujima he first took to the stage 1952 and then onto TV in 1957 mostly in musical and comedic roles. He continued in this vein through the 1960's starring in three films alongside the comedy jazz group The Crazy Cats. It wasn't until 1973 when he took the role of Mondo in the period drama "Hissatsu shiokinin" that he went from being a star to a superstar. He would spend the next three-plus decades appearing in numerous film and TV projects as well as more than a few "Hissatsu shiokinin" feature films and reboots. Sadly Fujita had been suffering with poor health in the past decade including a battle against esophageal cancer in 2008.

Our condolences to Fujta's family and friends. Thanks to Japan Zone for this news.

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