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Hiroki Matsukata, who died at age 74 on Jan. 21, may have been born into an acting family — his father was jidaigeki (historical drama) actor Jushiro Konoe — but in his yakuza films for the Toei studio in the 1960s and ’70s, Matsukata’s portrayals of feral-but-charming hoods seemed to boil up off the streets, not a studio lot.

And he was unusual for his staying power. When I reviewed my first Matsukata film, the 1994 “The Man Who Shot the Don” (“Don o Totta Otoko”), he was one of the few stalwarts from the genre’s golden age still swaggering across the screen for Toei. In fact, Toei promoted “Don” as its “last gang film” (unless, of course, it turned out to be a hit, which unfortunately it wasn’t).

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