Sessue Hayakawa

Birthday: Jun 10, 1889
Birthplace: Nanaura, Chiba, Japan
Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa, born Kitaro Hayakawa, joined a Japanese stage troupe directed by his uncle after a partial loss of hearing denied him access into the navy, which he had dreamed of joining. He moved to the U.S. at age 19 and enrolled at the University of Chicago. After returning to Japan he founded the Japanese Imperial Company, with which he toured the American West in 1913. Silent filmmaker Thomas Ince saw him perform and signed him to a film contract, and in 1914 he appeared in several silents. Within two years he was as popular as any big Hollywood star, particularly after his appearance in The Typhoon (1914), in which he co-starred was his wife, Tsuru Aoki. He went on to frequently appear with Aoki. His acting style has been described as a combination of "the Method" and Zen; his restrained performances contrasted sharply with the exaggerations of other silent actors. He played both exotic heroes and charming villains in many Hollywood films until 1923, when he moved to Europe; there he continued his busy screen career, mostly in France. He also occasionally worked in Japan and the U.S. He lived in France in the '30s and '40s, and during the Nazi occupation he painted to earn a living. He returned to Hollywood in the late '40s and over the next decade-plus appeared in numerous character roles. For his portrayal of a Japanese camp commander in The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) he received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. He retired from the screen in the '60s, returning to Japan; there he became an ordained Zen priest and taught acting. During his lifetime he also wrote a novel, a play, and the screenplay for The Swamp (1921).

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Macao, l'enfer du jeu (Gambling Hell) Actor 2013
No Score Yet O Mimi San Actor 2013
No Score Yet The Daydreamer The Mole 1966
81% Swiss Family Robinson Pirate Chief 1960
No Score Yet Hell to Eternity Gen. Matsui 1960
No Score Yet Green Mansions Runi 1959
No Score Yet The Geisha Boy Mr. Sikita 1958
95% The Bridge on the River Kwai Col. Saito 1957
83% House of Bamboo Inspector Kito 1955
No Score Yet Three Came Home Colonel Suga 1950
No Score Yet Tokyo Joe Baron Kimura 1949
No Score Yet The New Earth Actor 1937
No Score Yet Forfaiture (The Cheat) Actor 1937
No Score Yet Yoshiwara Ysamo 1937
No Score Yet Daughter of the Dragon Ah Kee 1931
No Score Yet An Arabian Knight Ahmed 1920
No Score Yet The Devil's Claim Akbar Kahn 1920
83% The Dragon Painter Tatsu, the Dragon Painter 1919
No Score Yet Tong Man Actor 1919
No Score Yet The Tong Man Actor 1919
No Score Yet Victoria Cross Actor 1916
No Score Yet The Cheat Arakau 1915
No Score Yet The Typhoon Tokorama 1914


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