Kinnosuke Nakamura, a leading actor in many of the Japanese swordsman films of the 1950s and ’60s, died of pneumonia March 10 in a Tokyo suburb. He was 64 and had been suffering from throat cancer.
Kinnosuke starred in about 150 movies. He is best-known as the tough but tenderhearted swordsman of numerous samurai movies during the glory days of the genre.
Before making his appearance onscreen, Kinnosuke, who was known as ”Kin-chan” in Japan, made his theatrical debut at the age of 3 when he appeared in a Kabuki drama. The veteran actor was the son of renowned Kabuki ac-tor Nakamura Tokizo III.
His first movie was in 1954, when he shared the screen with Hibari Misora, the closest thing Japan had to Judy Garland. He was a top talent with the Toei Co. movie house, and he is perhaps best-known for the movie ”Miya-moto Musashi.”
During the 1970s, he appeared in a number of TV series and also returned to perform Kabuki drama. In 1982 he collapsed on stage during a Kabuki performance when struck with myasthenia, a disease that causes muscles to fa-tigue and atrophy. He overcame the illness and returned to perform Kabuki.
Kinnosuke, whose real name was Kinichi Ogawa, is survived by his wife and fellow actor Nishiki Ko. Kinnosuke’s younger brother Nakamura Katsuo is also an actor.