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Television celebrity Ichiro Mikuni died Friday of malignant lymphoma at a Tokyo hospital, his family said Tuesday. He was 79.

Mikuni, a native of Nagoya, served in the frontline in World War II after graduating early from the University of Tokyo in 1943. He joined the forerunner of Asahi Breweries Ltd. after the war and left the company in 1956.

Entering the broadcasting field while working in Asahi’s sales department, Mikuni went on to become a popular emcee on TV shows of Nippon Television Network Corp.

He received high marks as an emcee on a decade-long TV program of Television Tokyo Channel 12 Ltd. from 1964.

Mikuni was also known as an actor and essayist.

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