Hiroyuki Sanada was born on October 12, 1960 in Tokyo. He made his film debut when he was 5 in Game of Chance (1965) (Shin'ichi Chiba played the lead role.) His father died when he was 11. He joined Japan Action Club, organized & run by Sonny Chiba, when he was 12. He 1st became famous as an action star for his role in Yagyu Clan Conspiracy (1978) but is now known as one of the most talented actors in Japan. From 1999-2000, he played the fool in an English-language production of "King Lear" w/ members of the Royal Shakespeare Co as the 1st Japanese actor to act w/ the RSC. He received an honorary MBE (Member of the British Empire) for this work. He & Satomi Tezuka split after 7 years in 1997.