March 11, 1968
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Transitioning from his early career as a model in the 1980s, actor Takao Osawa is one of Japan's most popular leading men. He's known in the United States for his role in "All About Lily Chou-Chou." An unconventional drama about teens who obsess over a pop idol, "All About Lily Chou-Chou" became a cult hit when it was released internationally in 2002. The sought-after Osawa has averaged about two films a year since his television debut in 1994, and upwards of four or five in recent years. With his lean, muscular physique and weary, soulful eyes, Osawa is often cast in romantic leads in films such as the wildly popular "Crying Out Love in the Center of the World," or as heroes or villains in historical action or fantasy epics. In the Robin Hood-inspired "Goemon," he plays the hero's loyal companion, Saizo Kirigakure. In "Ichi," a twist on the classic "blind swordsman" tale, Osawa had the role of Toma Fujihira, who comes to the aid of the seemingly helpless title character (Haruka Ayase), only to find that she's the one rescuing him with her deft swordplay. He was also the troubled scientist Kudo in the 2003 supernatural thriller "Sky High." Osawa was played the demented Yakuza leader Kuroda in "Into the Sun," an 2006 American action thriller starring Steven Seagal and Matthew Davis, and was given the lead on the 2009-2011 series "Jin," playing a time-traveling brain surgeon.