Raizo was born August 29, 1931 in Kyoto, Japan, and had a highly successful film career in mostly period dramas, however his roles as ISHIKAWA Goemon in the Shinobi no Mono film series and the nihilistic samurai NEMURI Kyoshiro in the Sleepy Eyes of Death films catapulted him to true stardom.
Appearing in over 150 films, Raizo worked with legendary directors Kenji MIZOGUCHI, Kon ICHIKAWA, Kenji MISUMI, and Teinosuke KINUGAWA, and also co-starred with Shintaro KATSU (Zatoichi) in at least a dozen features. During his 15 year career he worked exclusively for the Daiei Motion Picture Company, and, along with Shintaro, was one of the studio’s top box-office draws.
His romantic presence garnered him legions of female and male fans, and earned him the nickname of the “Japanese James Dean.” He died of cancer on July 17, 1969, at the young age of 37, cutting short what would have been an even more brilliant career.
Within two years of his death, Daiei, one of the five biggest… read more