Tadanobu Asano (浅野忠信 Asano Tadanobu), born Tadanobu Sato (佐藤 忠信 Satō Tadanobu, born November 27, 1973, in Yokohama), is a Japanese actor. He is most well known for his roles such as Dragon Eye Morrison in Electric Dragon 80.000 V, Kakihara in Ichi the Killer, Mamoru Arita in Bright Future, Hattori Genosuke in Zatoichi, Kenji in Last Life in the Universe, Aman in Survive Style 5+, Ayano in The Taste of Tea, and Temudjin in Mongol.
Asano was born in 1973 to a Japanese father and a mother of Navajo ancestry. His father, an actors' agent, suggested he take on his first acting role in the TV show "Kinpachi Sensei" at the age of 16. His film debut was in the 1990 Swimming Upstream (Bataashi Kingyo), though his first major critical success was in Shunji Iwai's Fried Dragon Fish (1993).
His first critical success internationally was Hirokazu Koreeda's Maboroshi no Hikari (1995), in which he played a man who inexplicably throws himself in front of a train, widowing his wife and orphaning his infant son. He also worked with Koreeda in the pseudo documentary Distance in 2001. His best known works internationally are the samurai films Gohatto (1999) and Zatoichi (2003), as well as the critically acclaimed film Akarui Mirai (Bright Future).
He also acted in Katsuhito Ishii's 2003 film The Taste of Tea, which premiered at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. He also appeared as the lead actor in Last Life in the Universe (2003) by Thai director Pen-Ek Ratanaruang and starred in a follow-up film by Pen-Ek, Invisible Waves, in 2006. In 2007 he starred as the young Genghis Khan in Sergei Bodrov's Oscar-nominated film Mongol.
The extensive range of Asano's film career is due in part to his decision no longer to appear in television programmes, even though TV work in Japan is generally more lucrative than film acting.
In addition to his acting career, Asano directed commercial TV spots for his wife, Chara. He is also a musician; he formed the band MACH-1.67 with director Sogo Ishii in 1996, and also from time to time plays in the bands Peace Pill and Safari.
He is also an artist and a model, most notably for Japanese fashion designers Jun Takahashi and Takeo Kikuchi, for whom he filmed a series of commercial spots directed by Wong Kar-wai; one released under the name wkw/tk/1996@7′55″hk.net. Asano and his father run the actor's agency Anore Inc. which represents Japanese actors like Ryo Kase and Rinko Kikuchi.
Asano met and fell in love with J-Pop idol Chara on the set of Iwai's Picnic (1994). They were soon married and Chara became pregnant with their first child, Sumire. In July 2009, Chara announced on her website that the two would be getting a divorce.