He was born Kōji Hashimoto (橋本 広司, Hashimoto Kōji?) in Isahaya, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, the youngest of five brothers. After graduation from the Nagasaki Prefectural High School of Technology in 1974, he took employment at the Chiyoda municipal ward office (the Chiyoda-Ku Yakusho) in Tokyo, hence the screen name “Yakusho”, a Japanese word meaning “public office.” In 1976, he saw a production of Maxim Gorky’s The Lower Depths and was inspired, first to take in as many plays as possible, later to take part in as many plays as possible.
In the spring of 1978 he auditioned, and was one of four chosen out of 800 applicants to the Mumeijyuku acting studio. While at the school he met actress Saeko Kawatsu, whom he would marry in 1982. The couple’s son was born in 1985.
In 1983, he landed the role of Oda Nobunaga in the year-long NHK drama Tokugawa Ieyasu and was catapulted to fame. He has also appeared in a TV version of Miyamoto Musashi from 1984-85. For several years, he… read more