Hiroyuki Sanada

Last updated
Hiroyuki Sanada
真田 広之
Hiroyuki Sanada 2013 (cropped).jpg
Sanada at a SyFy digital press tour for a set interview for the tv show Helix on October 2013
Hiroyuki Shimozawa
(下澤 廣之)

(1960-10-12) October 12, 1960 (age 60)
Shinagawa, Tokyo, Japan
Years active1965–present
Satomi Tezuka
(m. 1990;div. 1997)
Japanese name
Kanji 真田 広之
Hiragana さなだ ひろゆき
Katakana サナダ ヒロユキ

Hiroyuki Sanada (真田 広之, Sanada Hiroyuki, 12 October 1960) [1] is a Japanese actor. He is best known for his role as Tasogare Seibei ( The Twilight Samurai ) and Ujio (The Last Samurai). His role as 'The Fool' in the Shakespeare play King Lear also gave him notable theatrical notice in the United Kingdom. In Japan, Sanada is also known for songs he recorded for movies he was in as well as songs he’s performed for the public. [2]


He made his first major Hollywood appearance portraying Ujio in The Last Samurai , later appearing in such films as Speed Racer , The Wolverine , 47 Ronin , Life and Avengers: Endgame . He portrayed the Mortal Kombat character Scorpion in the 2021 reboot film of the same name. [3] [4] In 2021 he starred in zombie film Army of the Dead directed by Zack Snyder. He also had a recurring role on the HBO series Westworld from 2018 to 2020.

Life and career

Born in Tokyo, he was scouted by an entertainer while playing with the son of actor Kokichi Takada who lived in the same condominium, and after working as a model for a magazine for young children, he joined the Himawari Theatre Group at the age of five. He made his film debut in 1966 in the ninkyo yakuza film Game of Chance (浪曲子守唄) starring Shinichi "Sonny" Chiba, reprising his role as Chiba's character's son in 2 sequels released the following year.

Originally planning to be an action star, he studied Shorinji Kempo and later took up Kyokushin kaikan karate. [5] He began training at the age of 11 with Chiba's Japan Action Club, where he developed good all-round martial arts ability, and soon became Chiba's protégé. After entering high school, following Chiba's advice, he decided to devote himself to his studies, and withdrew from performing arts activities. In 1978, he resumed his performing arts activities in earnest after passing the audition for the movie Shogun's Samurai (柳生一族の陰謀). It was at this point that he changed his surname from Shimozawa (下澤) to Sanada (真田).

Sanada's martial arts film career introduced him to Michelle Yeoh, with whom he co-starred in Royal Warriors , and then later in Danny Boyle's Sunshine . He has a long-standing friendship with Jackie Chan. Outside of Japan, Sanada was often credited in his younger days as Henry Sanada, Harry Sanada, or Duke Sanada.

Sanada received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Nihon University. From 1980 to 1991, Sanada released a series of albums and singles in Japan as a singer; several of these were tied to films, TV shows, or stage productions he was starring in. In 2010 and 2011, compilations were released covering his songs for movies and pop hits respectively.

Sanada has established himself as a character actor who is adept at playing a variety of roles. He was first noticed as a serious actor in the movie Mahjong Hourouki directed by Makoto Wada. Since then he has acted in Wada's movies — works filled with humor and a nostalgia for classic films.

In 1999 and 2000, he performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in their production of King Lear , for which he was awarded as an Honorary Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2002, citing his "contribution to spreading British culture in Japan through his performance in a joint Shakespeare production." [6] Some media reports erroneously stated that Sanada received the honour for being the first Japanese actor to perform with the RSC, but Togo Igawa had joined the troupe much earlier, in 1986. [7]

Some of Sanada's more famous movies are Tasogare Seibei ( The Twilight Samurai ), Ring , Kaitō Ruby , and The Last Samurai . Sanada played Matsuda (the Japanese imperialist who befriends Ralph Fiennes' character Todd Jackson) in the 2005 film The White Countess directed by James Ivory. He starred in the Chinese film The Promise directed by Chen Kaige as General Guangming. Sanada has appeared in Rush Hour 3 in 2007 with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker, and in The City of Your Final Destination in 2009 in which he plays the younger lover of Anthony Hopkins' character Adam Gund.

Sanada joined the cast of the ABC TV series Lost in 2010 during its sixth and final season. He portrayed Dogen, a high-ranking member of "The Others". [8] In 2013, he appears in 47 Ronin (the first English-language adaptation of the Chushingura legend, Japan's most famous tale of samurai loyalty and revenge) alongside Keanu Reeves, [9] and as Shingen Yashida in The Wolverine opposite Hugh Jackman. [10]

Sanada was a guest star as Takehaya, a former Japanese Navy officer and legendary pirate captain in post-plague Asia, in the apocalyptic drama series The Last Ship . [11] He also starred in the 2017 movie Life with Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds, and played the minor role of Akihiko in the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame . In August 2019, Sanada was cast in the Mortal Kombat reboot as Scorpion. [12]



1966Game of Chance
Kenichi EndōRyūichi Takamori
1967Game of Chance 2
(続 浪曲子守唄)
Kenichi EndōRyūichi Takamori
Game of Chance 3: Lullaby for My Son
Kenichi EndōRyūichi Takamori
1969Abashiri Prison: Drifter at the Edge of the World
(新網走番外地 さいはての流れ者)
Shōichi Teruo Ishii
1970Legacy of Honor
Ichiro Kawamata Shigehiro Ozawa
(小沢 茂弘)
Brutal Tales of Chivalry 7
(昭和残侠伝 死んで貰います)
Yasuo Hanada Masahiro Makino
1974The Executioner
(直撃! 地獄拳)
Young Ryūichi Kōga Teruo Ishii
1978 Shogun's Samurai
Hayate Kinji Fukasaku
Message from Space
Shirō HongōKinji Fukasaku
1979 Sanada Yukimura no Bōryaku
Isa Nyūdō Miyoshi Sadao Nakajima
G.I. Samurai
Takeda Katsuyori Kōsei Saitō
Tonda Couple
Hoshida Shinji Sōmai
Shogun's Ninja
(忍者武芸帖 百地三太夫)
Takamaru Momochi Norifumi Suzuki
1981 Samurai Reincarnation
Iga no KirimaruKinji Fukasaku
Roaring Fire
Jōji Hibiki/Tōru HinoharaNorifumi Suzuki
The Kamikaze Adventurer
Akira HoshinoRyūichi Takamori
The Blazing Valiant
JoeToru Dobashi
1982 Lovers Lost
Kunihiko YasuokaKinji Fukasaku
Ninja in the Dragon's Den
Genbu Corey Yuen
Hong Kong film
Fall Guy
HimselfKinji Fukasaku
Ninja Wars
JōtarōKōsei Saitō
1983 Kabamaru the Ninja
Shizune MejiroNorifumi Suzuki
Legend of the Eight Samurai
Shinbei InueKinji Fukasaku
1984The Street of Desire
Jōji TanakaHaruhiko Mimura
Kōtarō Makaritōru!
Tatsuya Yoshioka Norifumi Suzuki
Mahjong hōrōki
Tetsu Bōya Makoto Wada
1985 The Dagger of Kamui
Jiro Rintaro
1986 House on Fire
Chūya Nakahara Kinji Fukasaku
Inuji ni Seshi Mono
Shigesa Kazuyuki Izutsu
Tanokura Haruki Kadokawa
In the Line of Duty: Royal Warriors
Kenji "Peter" YamamotoDavid Chung
Hong Kong film
1987 Sure Death 4: Revenge
(必殺IV 恨みはらします)
Ukyōnosuke OkudaKinji Fukasaku
1988 Kaitō Ruby
Tōru HayashiMakoto Wada
1989 Who Do I Choose?
Jun Yamamoto Shusuke Kaneko
1990Yellow Fangs
Eiji Sonny Chiba
Let's Go to the Hospital
Kōhei Shintani Yōjirō Takita
Kyōichi Jun Ichikawa
Masakazu Yoshinari Kazuki Ōmori
Let's Go to the Hospital 2
(病は気から 病院へ行こう2)
Ichirō KatakuraYōjirō Takita
1993 We Are Not Alone
Keiichi TakahashiYōjirō Takita
Nemuranai Machi: Shinjuku Same
(眠らない街 新宿鮫)
Takashi SamejimaYōjirō Takita
1994Uneasy Encounters
ManMakoto Wada
Episode 1
Hero Interview
Jinta TodorokiMichio Mitsuno
Crest of Betrayal
(忠臣蔵外伝 四谷怪談)
Takumi-no-kami Asano Kinji Fukasaku
Special appearance
Headquarters member Naoto Takenaka
1995 Sharaku
Tonbo Masahiro Shinoda
East Meets West Kenkichi Kamijō Kihachi Okamoto
Emergency Call
(緊急呼出し エマージェンシー・コール)
Hideyuki HaradaKazuki Ōmori
1998 Ring
Ryūji Takayama Hideo Nakata
Ryūji Takayama George Iida
Murder on D Street
Seiichirō Fukiya Akio Jissoji
Tadon to Chikuwa
AsamiJun Ichikawa
1999 Ring 2
Ryūji TakayamaHideo Nakata
Special appearance
2000 First Love
Shinichirō Fujiki Tetsuo Shinohara
2001 Minna no Ie
Bartender Kōki Mitani
Round About Midnight
Kōji MoriyamaMakoto Wada
DōsonYōjirō Takita
2002Vengeance for Sale
Sukeroku SukedachiyaKihachi Okamoto
The Twilight Samurai
Seibei Iguchi Yoji Yamada
2003 The Last Samurai Ujio Edward Zwick
Hisashi Sengoku Junji Sakamoto
The White Countess Matsuda James Ivory
The Promise
General Guangming Chen Kaige
Chinese film
2007 Sunshine Kaneda Danny Boyle
Rush Hour 3 Kenji Brett Ratner
2008 Speed Racer Mr. Musha The Wachowskis
2009 The City of Your Final Destination PeteJames Ivory
2012 Tenchi: The Samurai Astronomer
NarratorYōjirō Takita
2013 The Wolverine Shingen Yashida James Mangold
The Railway Man Takashi Nagase Jonathan Teplitzky
47 Ronin Ōishi Yoshio Carl Rinsch
2015 Mr. Holmes Tamiki Umezaki Bill Condon
Minions Dumo the Sumo Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda Voice
2017 Life Sho Murakami Daniel Espinosa
2018 The Catcher Was a Spy Kawabata Ben Lewin
2019 Avengers: Endgame Akihiko Russo brothers
2020 Minamata Mitsuo Yamazaki Andrew Levitas
2021 Mortal Kombat Hanzo Hasashi / Scorpion Simon McQuoid
2021 Army of the Dead Bly Tanaka Zack Snyder
2022 Bullet Train David Leitch Filming
2022 John Wick: Chapter 4 Shimazu Chad Stahelski Filming


1966Freezing Point
2 episodes
JNR Inspector No. 36
2 episodes
1967Special Tactical Police
1 episode
1968-1969Ahirugaoka 77
Tahei Danno
1970 Mito Kōmon
Kanta1 episode [15] [16]
1970-1973 Key Hunter
3 episodes [17]
1975The Gorilla Seven
1 episode
1977 J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai
Katsuya Nakayama1 episode
Shinkansen Kōankan
Yasuo1 episode
1978-1979 Message from Space: Galactic Wars
Hayato Gen/Maboroshi27 episodes
The Yagyu Conspiracy
Hyōma Hattori
13 episodes
1978Seven Detectives
1 episode
1979 The Unfettered Shogun
(吉宗評判記 暴れん坊将軍)
Otome Moroki1 episode [18]
1980 Roar! Doberman Cop
Hiroshi Sawaki1 episode
1980-1981Yagyu Abaretabi
Matahei10 episodes
1981-1982Shadow Warriors II
Hayate Kozō10 episodes
1982Shadow Warriors III
Sasuke13 episodes
1982-1983Yagyu Jubei Abaretabi
Matahei9 episodes
1984Wonderful Circus Guy
Tsuyoshi SatomiTV film
Chōdenshi Bioman
Ken Hayase1 episode
1985Shadow Warriors IV
Katsu Rintarō 18 episodes
And Then the War is Over
Tetsutarō SuzukiTV film
Kamen no Ninja Akakage
GenjiTV film
Shadow Warriors: The End of An Era
(影の軍団 幕末編)
Katsu Rintarō3 episodes
1986Interviewer Saeko: A Returnless Journey
(インタビュアー・冴子 〜もどらない旅へ〜)
TV film
1987Classmate is 13-years-old
Kenkō Inawashiro
Dokuganryu Masamune
Matsudaira Tadateru 9 episodes
Sweet Memories
Kiyoshi IshiharaTV film [19]
Me and Sister
TV film
1988Tokugawa Ieyasu
Ishida Mitsunari TV film
Love Story in New York
Masahiro Sakairi
I Love You So Much
SeiichiTV film [20]
1989Oda Nobunaga
Tokugawa Ieyasu TV film
Sakamoto Ryoma
Sakamoto Ryōma TV film
1990Shingo's Ten Duels
Aoi ShingoTV film
1991 Taiheiki
Ashikaga Takauji
Fall Guy: Gin-chan Goes
(続・蒲田行進曲 銀ちゃんが行く)
TV film
1992Seiteki Mokushi Roku
Mitsuo WadaTV film
Seizoroi Shimizu Ikka: Jirocho Uridasu
(勢揃い清水一家 次郎長売り出す)
Shinya no AsakichiTV film
1993Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Conqueror of a Nation
(天下を獲った男 豊臣秀吉)
Azai Nagamasa TV film
High School Teacher
Takao Hamura11 episodes [21]
1994The Reason I Owed to Her
Kunihiko Yamanobe11 episodes [22]
1995 The Abe Clan
Matashichirō EmotoTV film
Miracles in the Holy Night: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
(聖夜の奇跡 聖者が街にやってくる -Santa Claus is Coming to town-」​)
Yūji NonomuraTV film
1996 Hideyoshi
Ishida Mitsunari
1997Shin Hanshichi Torimonocho
Hanshichi18 episodes
A Story of Love
Shūichirō Harashima12 episodes
1998That Man's Fear
Keisuke KishikawaTV film
Toshihito Manabe10 episodes [23]
1999Summer of Detectives
Kazuki KurokawaTV film
Furuhata Ninzaburō
Kazuo Yura1 episode [24]
Kujira o Mita hi
Tamio ŌbaTV film
2001Unmarried Family
Yōsuke Matoba12 episodes
2004Locked-in Syndrome
Shunsuke KōsakaTV film [25]
2010 Lost Dogen5 episodes
2011–2012 Revenge Satoshi Takeda4 episodes
2014-2015 Helix Dr. Hiroshi Hatake15 episodes
2014 Extant Hideki Yasumoto13 episodes
2016 The Last Ship Takehaya9 episodes
2018–2020 Westworld Musashi4 episodes
2022 Shōgun Yoshi Toranaga [26]


1981Yagyu Jubei Makai TenshoIga no Kirimaru
Stuntman StoryHiroyuki
1982–1984The Big Adventure of The Fantastic PiratesIcarus (Young Pirate)/Eagle Spirit
1984 Little Shop of Horrors
1985The Drunken Duke Napoleon Bonaparte
Tenshu Story
1986Adventure Youth Departure
Stuntman Love Story
Romeo and Juliet Romeo
1987 Biloxi Blues Eugene
1988 Big River Huckleberry
1989–1990 Broadway Bound Eugene
1993Moonlit Club
1995–1998 Hamlet Hamlet
1999–2000 King Lear The Fool
2000The Orchestra PitConductor

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