Ryuhei Matsuda

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Ryuhei Matsuda is a noted Japanese actor, renowned for his debut (and starring) film role in 1999 as a samurai in the controversial and hit film Gohatto (translated “Taboo” in English). The actor was born in Tokyo, Japan, on May 9, 1983, and is known as the son of famous Japanese actor Yusaku Matsuda, who tragically died from bladder cancer at the age of 40, when young Matsuda was only six years old. Ryuhei Matsuda also has a younger brother, Shota Matsuda, also an actor.

In 1999, when he was just 15, Matsuda was offered his first chance to not only appear but to star in a movie—Nagisa Oshima’s Gohatto (Taboo), but he allegedly turned down the role at first upon learning he would play a homosexual samurai. However, after changing his mind and accepting the role as Samurai Sozaburo, an androgynous youth, Matsuda was required to train in kendo, the Japanese martial art of fencing, for a full two months straight in order to prepare for the role.

He co-starred alongside Tadanobu Asano and Takeshi Kitano, who played Captain Toshizo Hijikata, in the film, which became a huge success, and was the catapult Matsuda needed to propel his career forward. (In fact, Matsuda decided to drop out of high school in order to further pursue his career in acting after starring in Gohatto.)

Matsuda ended up winning a total of five awards for his work in Gohatto, including Japanese Academy Newcomer of the Year, a Blue Ribbon Best New Actor Award, a Kinema Junpo Best New Actor Award, a Sponichi Grand Prize for New Talent (by the Mainichi Film Concours), and a Yokohama Film Festival Best New Talent Prize.

In 2001, Matsuda captivated Japanese audiences again with his leading role as Kujo in Blue Spring (Aoi Haru), a dark high-school drama. Some of Matsuda’s more notable follow-up work was in the films 9 Souls (2003), Cutie Honey (Kyûtî Hanî, 2004), Izo (2004), and Ranpo jigoku (2005).

Matsuda’s Selected Filmography

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