Why Lord Yoshii Toranaga From FX’s Shogun Looks So Familiar

An award-winning actor who’s been appearing in movies and TV shows since 1965, Hiroyuki Sanada has played a great many iconic roles over the years. Horror aficionados may remember him as Ryūji Takayama, a prominent character from the Japanese 1998 horror classic “Ring” and its sequels, “Spiral” and “Ring 2.” He also played the main character of the critically acclaimed 2002 historical drama “Twilight Samurai.” 

On the Hollywood side of things, Sanada has appeared in several major movies, from “Rush Hour 3” and “Speed Racer” to the war drama “The Railway Man” and the Sherlock Holmes film “Mr. Holmes.” In the few years before “Shogun,” he was particularly visible. Apart from his roles in “John Wick: Chapter 4” and “Mortal Kombat,” viewers might have caught him as Bly Tanaka in Zack Snyder’s 2021 zombie film “Army of the Dead,” or as the Elder in the 2022 action thriller “Bullet Train.” 

Sanada has also had a significant presence on the small screen. Along with a great many Japanese TV shows, he’s appeared as the recurring character Dogen on “Lost,” and also played prominent roles in the science fiction shows “Helix” and “Extant,” among others. Fans of “Westworld” may also remember him for his turn as Musashi, another of many distinguished roles in a long, illustrious career.

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