• Kyodo


Actor Ken Watanabe has been diagnosed with early stage stomach cancer and has undergone endoscopic surgery to remove it, according to his agent.

The 56-year-old actor released a comment Tuesday seeking understanding for the postponement of his return to the musical “The King and I” on Broadway in New York.

Watanabe had been scheduled to star again in the musical beginning in March after a successful run in the role last year.

“I am preparing myself in earnest for the (Broadway) stage. I would like to ask for your understanding that the start of my performance in New York will be a little delayed,” he said in the statement.

Watanabe is currently recuperating at a hospital in Japan, his agent said. The cancer was detected in a medical checkup.

Watanabe has already overcome a different form of cancer. In 1989, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, but he returned to acting the following year.

In 2004, he was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role as Lord Katsumoto Moritsugu in the U.S. film “The Last Samurai.”

Watanabe made his Broadway debut in April 2015 when he starred in “The King and I” at the Lincoln Center Theater, playing the king of Siam who develops an unexpected bond with an English teacher in a story set in 19th century Thailand.

He was nominated for a Tony Award for best performance by a leading actor in a musical.

Watanabe, who appeared in Christopher Nolan’s “Batman Begins” and “Inception,” also starred in the reboot of “Godzilla” and “Letters From Iwo Jima.” He also lent his voice to the fourth installment of the Transformers franchise, “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

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