TOKYO, Japan / Mainichi Japan / Kyodo / Arts & Entertainment / September 19, 2010
Japanese actor Keiju Kobayashi, whose earnest performances endeared him to viewers throughout a nearly seven-decade long career, died of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital Thursday, his agency said Saturday. He was 86.
A Gunma Prefecture native, Kobayashi made his movie debut in 1942 and gained popularity in the 1950s by starring in a series of comedy films featuring salaried workers with ordinary man-next-door personalities.
Appearing in about 260 movies and TV dramas with his roles ranging from prime minister to police detective, Kobayashi received medals of honor from the government for his longtime achievements and cultural contributions.
His works also included the 1958 movie "Hadakanotaisho," in which he played Japanese artist Kiyoshi Yamashita.