Ken Ogata dies at 71

Japanese actor was Shohei Imamura's leading man

TOKYO – Ken Ogata, best known for his roles in the films of Shohei Imamura and in Peter Greenaway's "The Pillow Book" and Paul Schrader's "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters," is dead at 71.

Ogata died Sunday and was buried on Tuesday before his family made his passing public.

Ogata had just finished filming the Fuji TV drama "Garden of the Wind," on September 28. It is due to begin airing on Thursday, Oct. 9.

After appearing in numerous period dramas and films, it was Ogata’s performance as a serial killer in Imamura's 1979 "Vengeance" that made his name domestically and overseas.

Schraeder's "Mishima," produced in Japan in 1985 by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, was never released in Japan due to controversy about its portrayal of the troubled author as a homosexual.

In 1997, Ogata appeared in Greenaway’s "Pillow Book," and later, in two of Yoji Yamada’s samurai trilogy, "The Hidden Blade" and "Love and Honor."
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