Character actor and folk art researcher Shoichi Ozawa died Monday, his theater company said. He was 83.
Besides being a prominent actor, he was active as a singer and radio host. He was also highly regarded for his research on Japanese folk art.
Ozawa, who was born in Tokyo, began his acting career after graduating from Waseda University. He debuted on the stage in 1951 and won fame mostly by playing supporting roles in numerous films and TV dramas.
Founder of the Shabondama-za theater company, he also hosted a long-running radio talk show that began in 1973.
He conducted extensive research on traditional performing arts in many parts of Japan, the results of which were released on a record titled “Nihon no Horo Gei” (“Japan’s Itinerant Arts”).
Ozawa was honored by the government with the Medal with Purple Ribbon and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. Starting in 2004, he served a stint as “mayor” of Museum Meiji-mura, known for its open-air village of Meiji Era architecture, in Aichi Prefecture.