Japanese TV star Takamatsu dies

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TOKYO -- TV Tokyo is considering scrapping a long-running drama series after one of its stars, Hideo Takamatsu, died earlier this week.

Takamatsu, who played the part of Lord Buntaro in the 1980 TV miniseries "Shogun" and portrayed General Ishikari in 1987's "The Last Emperor," had been a staple of Japanese television shows since the early 1950s, but died in his sleep Monday at 77 years of age.

Takamatsu had complained of feeling unwell on location Thursday in Ibaraki, a city in northern Japan, during the filming on "Wednesday Mystery 9," an hour-long series that has been running for five years, TV Tokyo spokesman Makoto Higakata said.

He returned to his home in Kanagawa Prefecture, west of Tokyo, by bus Sunday evening. His wife found him dead the next morning, apparently due to a heart attack.

Takamatsu made his television debut in 1953 and quickly became a regular performer in dramatic productions. He also took roles in domestic films and was still keen to act well into his 70s, Higakata said.

"We have not yet decided if we will cancel the series or re-shoot parts of it," he said. "This is a terrible loss to the television industry here."
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