August 8, 2018
Tokyo- Japanese actor Masahiko Tsugawa, known for his supporting roles in both television series and films, died of heart failure on Saturday. He was 78.
Tsugawa, a native of Kyoto, was born into a family of actors, including his father Kunitaro Sawamura, a prewar star. His wife, Yukiji Asaoka, who died in April this year, was an actress, and his older brother, Hiroyuki Nagato, who died in 2011, was also an actor.
In 1956, 16-year-old Tsugawa, who had begun his acting career as a child, made his film debut with "Kurutta Kajitsu" (Crazed Fruits), starring Yujiro Ishihara and produced by Japanese studio Nikkatsu Corp. He performed in many other movies by the studio.
Tsugawa also appeared in television series, playing a variety of characters in both historical and modern dramas.
From the 1980s, Tsugawa played roles in many films by prominent movie director Juzo Itami, including "Marusa no Onna" (A Taxing Woman).
Tsugawa appeared in recent works such as long-running TV series "Aibou" (Partners) and "Ashitano Joe," (Tomorrow's Joe), a live-action film based on an old-time popular comic.
With prominent movie director Masahiro Makino as his uncle, Tsugawa also directed films.
Tsugawa and Asaoka, who married in 1973, were known as a happily married couple.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had a close relationship with the actor, expressed his condolences on Wednesday.
Recalling the time when he resigned in 2007 to end his first stint as prime minister, Abe said, "I'm grateful to Tsugawa, who gave me warm encouragement." Jiji Press
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