Shintaro (originally Okumura Toshio), was born November 29, 1931. Nicknamed Katsu-shin, he was a very prolific actor, but also a singer, producer, and director. His introduction to the entertainment world began at a young age; his father was a master of the Shamisen (three-string instrument) and Nagauta (tradition Japanese singing). He and his brother Wakayama Tomisaburo received formal training when they were young children and Shintaro began teaching the Shamisen and Nagauta to Geisha in Fuagawa, Tokyo when he was just a teenager. This upbringing lead some to the conclusion that the brothers’ superb sword fighting styles owe much to their musical background, and that they fight in a certain beautiful classic rhythm because of it.
Beginning with his first film in 1955, Bara Ikutabika, Shintaro appeared in over 100 films in six decades, and along with Ichikawa Raizo was one of Daiei Studios top stars during Japan’s golden age of filmmaking (during the decade of the 1960s, Shintaro… read more