Japanese actor Koji Yakusho was named best actor at this year’s Cannes Film Festival on May 27 for his leading role as a toilet cleaner in Wim Wenders’ Perfect Days.
Yakusho, 67, became the second Japanese actor to win the prize since Yuya Yagira in 2004, who won it at age 14 for Nobody Knows. The acclaimed veteran actor played a leading role in Shohei Imamura’s The Eel, which won the festival’s top award, the Palme d’Or, in 1997.
Perfect Days follows the story of Hirayama, who leads a simple life as a toilet cleaner in Tokyo and spends his spare time listening to music and reading books. Some unexpected encounters gradually reveal the protagonist’s past.
During the award ceremony, Yakusho thanked Wenders and others who worked on the film for making Hirayama, his character, a “fascinating” one.
Yakusho, who hails from Nagasaki Prefecture, shot to fame as a ballroom-dancing salaryman in the 1996 Japanese hit comedy film Shall We Dance? He also appeared in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Babel in 2006.
This year’s best screenplay award went to Yuji Sakamoto for Kaibutsu (Monster), directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. The story follows a series of misunderstandings surrounding two schoolboys’ friendship. (Kyodo, Reuters)