Hiroyuki Sanada

Hiroyuki Sanada (真田 広之, Sanada Hiroyuki, born Hiroyuki Shimosawa (下澤 廣之, Shimosawa Hiroyuki); 12 October 1960)[1] is a Japanese actor. He is known for his role as Tasogare Seibei (The Twilight Samurai). His role as 'The Fool' in the Shakespeare play King Lear gave him notable theatrical notice in the United Kingdom. Sanada is also a recording artist in Japan.

Hiroyuki Sanada
真田 広之
Hiroyuki Sanada 2013 (cropped).jpg
Sanada in October 2013
Hiroyuki Shimosawa

(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
Japanese name
Kanji下澤 廣之
Hiraganaしもさわ ひろゆき
Katakanaシモサワ ヒロユキ

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 also had a recurring role on the HBO series Westworld from 2018 to 2020. Additionally, he portrayed the Mortal Kombat character Scorpion in the 2021 reboot film of the same name.[2][3] In 2021 he starred in zombie film Army of the Dead directed by Zack Snyder.

Life and careerEdit

Sanada was born in Tokyo. Originally planning to be an action star, he studied Shorinji Kempo and later took up Kyokushin kaikan karate.[4] Sanada began training at the age of 11 with actor and martial arts star Sonny Chiba's Japan Action Club, where he developed good all-round martial arts ability, and soon became Chiba's protégé. 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 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."[5] 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.[6]

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".[7] 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,[8] and as Shingen Yashida in The Wolverine opposite Hugh Jackman.[9]

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.[10] 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.[11]



Year Title Role Director(s) Notes Ref.
1966 Game of Chance
Kenichi Endō Ryūichi Takamori
1967 Game of Chance 2
(続 浪曲子守唄)
Kenichi Endō Ryūichi Takamori
Game of Chance 3: Lullaby for My Son
Kenichi Endō Ryūichi Takamori
1969 Abashiri 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
1970 Legacy 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
1974 The Executioner
(直撃! 地獄拳)
Young Ryūichi Kōga Teruo Ishii
1978 Shogun's Samurai
Hayate Kinji Fukasaku
Message from Space
Shirō Hongō Kinji 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 Kirimaru Kinji Fukasaku
Roaring Fire
Jōji Hibiki/Tōru Hinohara Norifumi Suzuki
The Kamikaze Adventurer
Akira Hoshino Ryūichi Takamori
The Blazing Valiant
Joe Toru Dobashi
1982 Lovers Lost
Kunihiko Yasuoka Kinji Fukasaku
Ninja in the Dragon's Den
(Chinese: 龍之忍者)
Genbu Corey Yuen
(Chinese: 元奎)
Hong Kong film
Fall Guy
Himself Kinji Fukasaku
Ninja Wars
Jōtarō Kōsei Saitō
1983 Kabamaru the Ninja
Shizune Mejiro Norifumi Suzuki
Legend of the Eight Samurai
Shinbei Inue Kinji Fukasaku
1984 The Street of Desire
Jōji Tanaka Haruhiko 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
(Chinese: 皇家戰士)
Kenji "Peter" Yamamoto David Chung Hong Kong film
1987 Sure Death 4: Revenge
(必殺IV 恨みはらします)
Ukyōnosuke Okuda Kinji Fukasaku
1988 Kaitō Ruby
Tōru Hayashi Makoto Wada
1989 Who Do I Choose?
Jun Yamamoto Shusuke Kaneko
1990 Yellow Fangs
Eiji Sonny Chiba
Let's Go to the Hospital
Kōhei Shintani Yōjirō Takita
Kyōichi Jun Ichikawa
1992 Succession
Masakazu Yoshinari Kazuki Ōmori
Let's Go to the Hospital 2
(病は気から 病院へ行こう2)
Ichirō Katakura Yōjirō Takita
1993 We Are Not Alone
Keiichi Takahashi Yōjirō Takita
Nemuranai Machi: Shinjuku Same
(眠らない街 新宿鮫)
Takashi Samejima Yōjirō Takita
1994 Uneasy Encounters
Man Makoto Wada
Episode 1
Hero Interview
Jinta Todoroki Michio 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 Harada Kazuki Ōmori
Sigaw ng Puso
(Sagot ng Puso dubbed in Tagalog)
1998 Ring
Ryūji Takayama Hideo Nakata
Ryūji Takayama George Iida
Murder on D Street
Seiichirō Fukiya Akio Jissoji
Tadon to Chikuwa
Asami Jun Ichikawa
1999 Ring 2
Ryūji Takayama Hideo Nakata
Special appearance
2000 First Love
Shinichirō Fujiki Tetsuo Shinohara
2001 Minna no Ie
Bartender Kōki Mitani
Round About Midnight
Kōji Moriyama Makoto Wada
Dōson Yōjirō Takita
2002 Vengeance for Sale
Sukeroku Sukedachiya Kihachi Okamoto
The Twilight Samurai
Seibei Iguchi Yoji Yamada
2003 The Last Samurai Ujio Edward Zwick
2005 Aegis
Hisashi Sengoku Junji Sakamoto
The White Countess Matsuda James Ivory
The Promise
(Chinese: 無極)
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 Pete James Ivory
2012 Tenchi: The Samurai Astronomer
Narrator Yōjirō 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


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1966 Freezing Point
JNR Inspector No. 36
1967 Special Tactical Police
1968 Ahirugaoka 77 Tahei Danno
1970 Mito Kōmon Kanta
Key Hunter
1975 The Gorilla Seven
1977 J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai Katsuya Nakayama
Shinkansen Kōankan Yasuo
1978 Message from Space: Galactic Wars Hayato Gen/Maboroshi
The Yagyu Conspiracy Hyōma Hattori
Seven Detectives
1979 The Unfettered Shogun Otome Moroki
1980 Roar! Doberman Cop Hiroshi Sawaki
Yagyu Abaretabi Matahei
1981 Shadow Warriors II Hayate Kozō
1982 Shadow Warriors III Sasuke
Yagyu Jubei Abaretabi Matahei
1984 Wonderful Circus Guy Tsuyoshi Satomi TV film
Chōdenshi Bioman Ken Hayase Special guest
1985 Shadow Warriors IV Katsu Rintarō
And Then the War is Over Tetsutarō Suzuki TV film
Kamen no Ninja Akakage Genji TV film
Shadow Warriors: The End of An Era Katsu Rintarō
1986 Interviewer Saeko: A Returnless Journey TV film
1987 Classmate is 13-years-old Kenkō Inawashiro
Dokuganryu Masamune Matsudaira Tadateru
Sweet Memories Kiyoshi Ishihara TV film
Me and Sister TV film
1988 Tokugawa Ieyasu Ishida Mitsunari TV film
Love Story in New York Masahiro Sakairi
I Love You So Much Seiichi TV film
1989 Oda Nobunaga Tokugawa Ieyasu TV film
Ryoma Sakamoto Sakamoto Ryōma TV film
1990 Shingo's Ten Duels Shingo Aoi TV film
1991 Taiheiki Ashikaga Takauji
Fall Guy: Gin-chan Goes TV film
1992 Seiteki Mokushi Roku Mitsuo Wada TV film
Seizoroi Shimizu Ikka: Jirocho Uridasu Shinya no Asakichi TV film
1993 Hideyoshi Toyotomi, Conqueror of a Nation Azai Nagamasa TV film
High School Teacher Takao Hamura [13]
1994 The Reason I Owed to Her Kunihiko Yamanobe
1995 The Abe Clan Matashichirō Emoto TV film
Miracles in the Holy Night:
Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Yūji Nonomura Episode 2, TV film
1996 Hideyoshi Ishida Mitsunari
1997 Shin Hanshichi Torimonocho Hanshichi
Konna Koi no Hanashi Shūichirō Harashima
1998 That Man's Fear Keisuke Kishikawa TV film
Tabloid Toshihito Manabe
1999 Summer of Detectives Kazuki Kurokawa TV film
Furuhata Ninzaburō Kazuo Yura Episode 29 [14]
Kujira o Mita hi Tamio Ōba TV film
2001 Unmarried Family Yōsuke Matoba
2004 Locked-in Syndrome Shunsuke Kōsaka TV film
2010 Lost Dogen
2011–2012 Revenge Satoshi Takeda
2014 Helix Dr. Hiroshi Hatake
Extant Hideki Yasumoto
2016 The Last Ship Takehaya
2018–2020 Westworld Musashi


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


  1. ^ "Hiroyuki Sanada Profile axon entertainment inc". March 5, 2018.
  2. ^ Kroll, Justin (2019-08-27). "'Mortal Kombat' Reboot Finds Its Shang Tsung and Scorpion (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  3. ^ "Chin Han & Hiroyuki Sanada join Mortal Kombat as Shang Tsung and Scorpion". www.joblo.com. 2019-08-27. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  4. ^ HIROYUKI SANADA: "PROMISES" FOR PEACE THROUGH FILM. kungfumagazine.com. Kung Fu Magazine Retrieved on 2011-11-21.
  5. ^ "Japanese actor gets British award for Shakespeare performance". September 5, 2011.
  6. ^ "Togo Igawa's biography". Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  7. ^ "Hiroyuki Sanada to appear in final season of 'Lost'". Japan Today. October 19, 2009.
  8. ^ "Keanu's "47 Ronin" has A-List Japanese Cast". japan-zone.com. March 2, 2011.
  9. ^ Hoare, James. "THE WOLVERINE'S HIROYUKI SANADA ON SHINGEN AND SAMURAI". Movies. SciFiNow UK. Retrieved 12 July 2013.
  10. ^ Wagner, Curt (August 9, 2016). "BRIDGET REGAN: 'LAST SHIP' GETS MORE INTENSE". TVShowPatrol. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  11. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 27, 2019). "'Mortal Kombat' Reboot Finds Its Shang Tsung and Scorpion (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  12. ^ "遊侠列伝". Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan. Retrieved July 29, 2020.
  13. ^ "高校教師(真田広之、桜井幸子". TBS. Retrieved August 6, 2020.
  14. ^ "EPISODE29/その男、多忙につき (放映タイトル:忙しすぎる殺人者)". Furuhata Ninzaburo Jiken Files. Retrieved July 29, 2020.

External linksEdit