Masahiko Tsugawa, an actor with numerous appearances in movies and TV dramas, died of heart failure Saturday, his management agency said Tuesday. He was 78.
A Kyoto native, Tsugawa, whose grandfather and uncle were famed film directors, began performing on the stage and in movies at a very young age.
The place of his death was not disclosed and the funeral was only attended by immediate family and close relatives.
His career as an actor took off after he appeared in the movie “Kurutta Kajitsu” (Crazed Fruit) in which the late singer and movie star Yujiro Ishihara played the leading role.
Tsugawa also appeared in a number of movies made by the late director Juzo Itami, who was internationally known for his satirical films.
His credits include roles where he played famous figures, including executed Class-A war criminal Prime Minister Hideki Tojo in the movie “Pride: The Fateful Moment” and Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu in NHK historical fiction taiga dramas.
Tsugawa directed his first film in 2006 under the name of Masahiko Makino. His brother Hiroyuki Nagato, who died in 2011, was also a well-known actor. He also appeared on a poster promoting the government’s campaign to resolve the issue of Japanese abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 80s.