Born Masaru OKUMURA on September 1, 1929, Tomisaburo spent his childhood performing and touring with his father and his younger brother, Shintaro KATSU. During this time he learned how to play the shamisen and was steeped in traditional Nagauta songs.
As a teenager, Tomisaburo withdrew from performing and began studying judo where he eventually reached the rank of fourth degree black belt. However, in his early 20s he began to receive acting offers from Shin Toho studios. After some deliberation, he signed a contract with the studio and began to train for samurai roles, engaging himself in various martial arts, such as Shorinji Kenpo (as seen in Sleepy Eyes of Death), Kendo, Iaido, and Bo-Jitsu.
At the beginning of the 1960s, he signed with Daiei Studios and his career took off. Throughout the decade, he appeared in Daiei’s top film series, including Sleepy Eyes of Death, Shinobi no Mono and opposite his brother in the Zatoichi film series. His signature role came at the… read more