15:31 16 March 2017
Tsunehiko Watase, yakuza movie star known for role in "Oshin," dies
TOKYO, March 16, Kyodo
Yakuza movie star Tsunehiko Watase, who is also known for playing a key role in the legendary TV drama "Oshin," died at a hospital in Tokyo recently, his office said Thursday. He was 72.
Watase had been undergoing treatment after a tumor was found in his gall bladder in 2015. He died Tuesday of multiple organ failure, according to his office. Watase is the younger brother of Tetsuya Watari, also an actor.
After making his starring debut in a 1970 film, Watase appeared in many yakuza gangster films produced by the Toei studio, including the popular series "Jingi Naki Tatakai" (Battles without honor and humanity).
Watase, a native of Hyogo Prefecture, also played in numerous other films and TV dramas over several decades. He earned praise for his role playing the first love interest for the main character of public broadcaster NHK's iconic morning drama "Oshin," which aired in 1983 and 1984.