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Japanese star tadanobu fujimoto

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Posted 18th July 2010 at 01:22 AM by pedromonkey

With Hal Manciano resurfacing here at the labs i thought we should also look back on the career of another lost legend of cult cinema...one time mega star of japanese cinema TADANOBU FUJIMOTO...


Fujimoto was born in Tokyo in 1950 to Juno and Bunta Fujimoto. at a very young age Tadanobu became very interested in music, especially that of the american jazz musicians, this led him as a teen to begin singing, he sang with many small bands untill he turned 17. While performing solo on a street corner in the Shinjuku district he was discovered by movie producer Ando Yamamoto, who liked how the youngster looked and asked him to come in and do a few auditions. Tadanobu agreed and by 1968 was cast in his first role. The role was that of the best friend of Kazushi Uchida in the comedy CHOPSTICKS FOR CHIYAKI. the film was released in feb 1969 a week after Fujimoto turned 19. it was only a small part but producer Yamamoto liked him and signed him for two more films, BLOOD ON BURNING WOOD and cult sci-fier MISSION ONE TO VENUS.

In 1970 Fujimoto released his first full lenth solo album entitled LOVE LOVE FANTASTIC LOVE. The album was a success and it got him alot of attention. After the success of the album he started filming on the Toho inspired MONSTER MONSTER JAPAN ATTACK! where he played Lt.Akira Endo. It was on the set that he met his first wife Yuki Yaguchi, an actress from Okinawa. After six months of courting they got married and Fujimoto was cast as a yakuza hitman in the film TOKYO TRIGGER, this would be the first in a trilogy of Yakuza films he made with director Takashi Watanabe, the two others being TOKYO UNDERWORLD and YAKUYZA DEATH SHOT where he continued the character of Daisuke the hitman,

After Yuki's discovery that Fujimoto had a string of affairs behind her back, the two divorced with Yuki get custody of their two children Shihori and Hiro. After the mega flop of the comedy THE HAPPY YAKUZA, Fujimoto left for the west and headed to Hollywood. His first role was in SILKY SAL'S MADHOUSE OF MAYHEM, a ridiculous screwball comedy starring Vance Royale and Marsha Zimbii, Fujimoto played the very stereo-typed Mr. Ando and all of his lines had to be dubbed over as at the time he could speak only two or three full sentences in English. The film was a major flop and completely bankrupted the studio that made it, MONGOFILMS. Fujimoto was not to bothered about this because he was only on screen for about 10 minutes, what really bothered him was that he was missing his kids. His son and his daughter were growing up without a their father. In 1981 horror yarn THE BURNING OF SISTER PARTRIDGE that was a minor success and that was followed by his highest grossing american film MIRACLE ON HOLIDAY ROAD a musical where after nearly four years of training, Fujimoto was able to do the entire film in English and he was able to showcase his musical and Dancing skills.

As the ninja craze was in full swing in the states, Fujimoto was cast as Yakuza boss Nobu Nagisa in the frankly awful BLACK COBRA NINJA STRIKE. The film was so bad it was shelved until 1991 when it started making the rounds on the cult circuit. But all was about to change because in 1987, while driving through the Hollywood hills collided his mustang head first into a tree after trying to swerve past another car. Fujimoto nearly died and after a long two year recovery returned to japan where he became a recluse for 4 years. In 1996 he came out of retirement with a self penned script Called A DAY WITH DAD, about his relationship with his children. The film was picked up and greenlit with Fujimoto to star in and it was to be directed by up and coming director Hideo Sakai. The film opened on december 21st 1997 and became a massive critical hit, earning Fujimoto his first ever acting award and his first ever screenwriting award at the AJA's (Awards of the Japanese Academy). at a press Conference for the film, one journalist asked where he'd been for the last 4 years to which Fujimoto responded...'remembering my life'.

Fujimoto made a few more films, and made a lot of television appearences between '97 and 2009.

In 2009 and after 14 major pictures and 7 studio albums Fujimoto officially retired from acting, but he hasn't left the business, he now hosts his own 1 hour variety show on Japanese television called HAPPY HAPPY FUJIMOTO FUN TIME.

SELECTED FILMOGRAPHY


HASHI TAISHITE CHIYAKI aka CHOPSTICKS FOR CHIYAKI (1969)

KETSUEKI O NENSHOU MOKUZAI aka BLOOD ON BURNING WOOD (1969)

MISSHON ICHI DZUKI MYOUJOU aka MISSION ONE TO VENUS (1970)

KAIBUTSU KAIBUTSU NIPPON ATTAKU! aka MONSTER MONSTER JAPAN ATTACK! (1970)

TOUTO TORIGA aka TOKYO TRIGGER (1971)

ICHI NI SAN KAIBUTSU!!! aka ONE TWO THREE MONSTER! (1971)

SHINJUKU AKUNOCHIMATA aka SHINJUKU UNDERWORLD (1973)

YAKUZA SENDO SHOTTO aka YAKUZA DEATH SHOT (1974)

ZA HAPPI YAKUZA aka THE HAPPY YAKUZA (1976)

In 1979 he made his western debut.

SILKY SAL'S MAYHEM MADHOUSE (1979) as Mr. Ando

THE BURNING OF SISTER PARTRIDGE (1981) as Clyde Yamamoto

MIRACLE ON HOLIDAY ROAD (1983)* as The Minister

BLACK COBRA NINJA STRIKE (1985) as Yakuza boss Nobu Nagisa
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  1. Old Comment
    Sam@Cult Labs's Avatar
    Brilliant!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 18th July 2010 at 02:32 PM by Sam@Cult Labs Sam@Cult Labs is offline
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