Japanese actor Ken Watanabe fighting cancer, delays return to Broadway

12 February 2016 / 8 months 2 weeks ago

Japanese actor Ken Watanabe, 56, is currently fighting stomach cancer and has delayed his return to the Broadway stage.

According to Reuters via The Straits Times, the handsome actor survived two bouts of leukaemia more than 20 years ago. 

He announced on Twitter that he was diagnosed "almost miraculously early" with the cancer last month and underwent surgery.​

"I was really shocked, my wife and daughter pushed me to have a health check and the cancer was found. It was a very early stage and they operated immediately," he added. "I'll be resting in February so my arrival in New York will be somewhat delayed."

A statement on his Facebook page on Feb 9 wrote:

"Ken has undergone laparoscopic surgery after having been diagnosed with stomach cancer in January. His surgery was successful but his return to Broadway will be postponed."

Watanabe is the first Japanese to be nominated for a Tony Award for his 2015 performance as the king in The King And I on Broadway.

He was also an Academy Award nominee for his performance in the 2003 movie The Last Samurai. 

Approached about doing The King And I, he said his first reaction was "'In English? A musical? Oh no, no, no, I can never do this'," The New York Times reported.

But he won rave reviews and a Tony nomination for his performance, which ended in July.

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