Personal Background
(Miscellaneos Items)
Updated on August 7,2009
1. Height: 179 cm     2. Blood type: AB   3. Hair   3. Voice   5.Personality

6. Interests    7. Period dramas      8. Friends

                          3. Hair:

Koji's hair is actually very thick and curly!  He has once said that when straight hair is needed, he has to
make his hair straight with a hair drier. Concerning his hair, he recently mentioned something very
interesting in a radio interview:

Apparently, he used to have straight hair until primary school; then, in accordance with school
regulations, he had to have close-cropped hair during junior high school. In senior high school, however,
when he started growing his hair again, he became amazed to find that his hair had become very curly!

Koji's hairstyle in his films changes in accordance to the professions of the roles he performs, so it is one
of the great interests of Koji fans to find his new hairstyle in his upcoming films.  

                         4. Voice: singing & narration

Together with his facial expressions, Koji's voice is a great attraction; he has a good baritone voice, which
sounds very pleasant and soothing.

His singing voice thus impresses those who hear. In fact, in 1984 he issued an LP entitled, "YAKUSHO"
in 1984, about the same time as he was appearing NHK TV's year-long samurai drama, "Miyamoto
Musashi". Around then, too, Koji gave two small concerts in Tokyo in which he sang several songs from
his LP, accompanying himself on  the guitar. His wife Saeko and his acting teacher, Tatsuya Nakadai
came to the first concert. The LP is not available now but if you want to hear him sing, you can listen to
him singing the theme song of "Miyamoto Musashi" on the recently issued DVD of "Miyamoto
Musashi", in the scene where Musashi walks all alone on the long beach, in  episodes 20 and 21.

It is a great pity that he had stopped his singing activities since then; Seemingly he has had to be more
engaged in acting in TV dramas and movies. Reportedly, however,  he sometimes sings at parties or at
karaoke bars; I hear that the lucky ones who have listened to Koji singing on such occasions are full of
praise for his superb singing.

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Koji is also noted as an excellent narrator. He has worked for several TV documentary programs as a
narrator, and at present he has two separate weekly TV programs, namely  "Gaia no Yoake" (Dawn at
the Gaia) and "Tokyo Biyori" (Fine days in Tokyo).

In "Gaia no Yoake" on channel 12, which started four years ago, he appears briefly three times during a
50- minute documentary program featuring current social topics in Japan and gives introductory
remarks, as well as a commentary.  Koji appears in the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of the
program, always wearing a black raincoat!

"Tokyo Biyori" is a five-minute program on channel 4 (Nihon TV), sponsored by Tokyo Metro subway
company. It features the introdcutions to various parts of town inJapan's capital city, each one located
near a Tokyo Metro subway station. In this program, he gives just the naration but while listening to his
voice, we are inclined to feel that he may be actually somewhere on the TV screen. The first station he
introduced was Asakusa station on Ginza line, the first subway line to be constructed in all Japan.


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In some of Koji's films and TV dramas, we notice that the characters he performs make rather longer
speeches. Critics point out that his excellent narrative skill with good voice may tempt directors
deliberately to make him talk longer to give those scenes some more dramatic effect.

Take for instance, Sugiyama's remarks to Mai at the dance practice room . His quiet way of talk at length
is very persuasive and moving. Again as Takabe in "Cure", Koji  makes a long confession to Mamiya
about his sufferings involving his wife Fumie, who seems to be mentally disturbed. Other films like
"Kamikaze Taxi", "Dora-heita", "Yudan Taiteki", " and TV dramas like "Aikotoba wa Yuki" and
"Toride Naki Mono" all have scenes where Koji speaks for a longer time than usual. As a result, viewers
can feel intoxicated with his tone of voice, and are led to appreciate more accurately the film character
which he is playing.


                              5. Personality

I gather that Koji's personality is very modest, warm, sincere, shy, considerate and approachable! It is
often reported that Koji's way of talking at an interview is far from eloquent. He speaks rather falteringly.
A reporter, who interviewed Koji about "Kizuna" in 1998 expressed his surprise when he found that Koji
was quite different from the character he portrayed in "Kizuna": "Koji Yakusho in KIZUNA is a cool
and tough man, who never changes his facial expressions whatever happens, whereas the real Koji
Yakuso, while being interviewed, listens to the questions eagerly in a calm manner, reflects for a while,
and then talks politely in a whispering voice."

I cannot help feeling surprised whenever I see Koji Yakusho as he greets the audience from the stage at
premiere showings of his new films. Koji looks gentle, calm and shy! Who can imagine that this actor
actually performed such tough roles as Michio Hayasaki in "Doppelganger", Tenma, the governor of
Tokyo in "Tokyo Genpatsu or Tokyo Level 1" or Shinichi Masami in "Lorelei"?  

Since Koji is an actor after all, all this might be taken as granted.  Nevertheless, the great differences
between the images of the characters which Koji has performed in films and the photos of real Koji never
stop surprising his fans.

                                         
                                6. Interests

In the 1980s, Koji usually mentioned that he was interested in walking, horseback riding, singing, and
playing the guitar.

In the early 1990s, he sometimes remarked that he liked to do weeding in a garden, as he could feel calm
and relaxed, while doing that sort of work. He added that weeding reminded him of his youth, for while
Koji was Tatsuya Nakadai's Mumeijuku student, he was occasionally asked by Nakadai to weed in his
garden so that Koji could both ‘earn his keep" and gain some pocket money.

From 1998 onwards, Koji has come to mention a female puppy, Puchi ( Koharu is her real name but Koji
says that his son wanted to rather call him Puchi). Koji actually  bought the puppy solely for his son but
he said that it had soon become father's job to take her out for a walk. His concern about Puchi can be
understood from his comment (Nov.20, 02) which I have put on my site.

Koji's other avid interest is his American- style log-house in the Yatsugatake mountain area in Nagano
prefecture, which he bought in the early 1990s. He now says that his utmost pleasure is to spend time
there when he can escape from work. Every time he goes there, he says that he does the gardening,
trimming over grown trees, weeding, and planting flowers.  He once said in an interview that when the day
comes that he can no longer work as an actor, he would like to become a gardener!   

When asked about his interests, he recently replied that nowadays he has become very keen on
woodwork. In addition, collecting various knives seems to have become one of his hobbies, too.

Koji says:
"My interests?  Actually I don'n have any special interests that I am enthusiastic about, but I do like
woodwork. I like tools for woodwork so I collect knives for woodwork, made in various foreign countries
and make boxes. When I am free,I engage in making various kind of stuff, but I can't say that I have any
special hobbies."

                              
 7. Period dramas