The year of 2016 is like a comeback year for Japanese actor Masanobu Ando. The 41 years old actor made a “sudden comeback” and starred in 5 different movies this year: Gonin Saga, Sailor Suit and Machine Gun: Graduation, Sadako vs Kayako, Kashin and Yamikin Ushijima the Final. Not just movies, he also appeared on NHK’s dorama Koi no Sanriku Ressha Kon de Ikou and on an episode of Jimi ni Sugoi. Even though it was a brief appearance, many viewers surprised and praised his crying scene. This is rare move of Masanobu, considering that his last Japanese movie was 3 years ago (Petal Dance, 2013).  What caused him to suddenly active again?

Masanobu Ando, was once a popular young actor in the late 90’s, especially after Kids Return (1996) and Battle Royale (2000). After winning Best New Actor on Japan Academy Prize for Kids Return, he appeared on many popular commercials like Pocky and NTT DoCoMo. But slowly after that, Masanobu seemed to “disappear”.  He stopped taking dorama roles, and also limited his movie appearance by only taking 1 or 2 movie job a year. The Kanagawa born actor chose to spread his career outside Japan by co-starring on Chinese and Taiwan movies like Forever Enthralled (2008), The Butcher, The Chef and the Swordsman (2010) and Seediq Bale (2011).

His private life is also rather mysterious. Like many Japanese actors, he leads a private life, but that doesn’t stop the rumors from taking on a life of its own. For example this year, his Wikipedia saying that the actor was actually somewhere around south polar, which was denied by the actor during the premier of Gonin Saga. “Of course I received some job and role offers from Japan filmmaker, but that time I thought: ‘well, actually this role can be played by other actor, it doesn’t have to be me’,” he explained on an interview.

Finally this year, Masanobu wants to restarting and focusing his acting career in Japan. On an interview held back in 2015, the actor once said, “Next year will mark my 20th years in this industry, so it’s time to get serious.” Masanobu, who often play otokokusai or masculine roles like psychopath killer, yakuza, policeman, boxer, even Chinese gangster, also expressed his desire to challenge new roles. “When I have the opportunity, for example I’d love to star in an intense love story,” he said.

Aside from his acting career, the actor who recently debuted as a photographer also has something else in mind, and that is his family. On an interview in Numero magazine last year, he made a confession (which probably breaking many hearts of his fans) by saying that he’s already a married man with two children. “I do my best efforts as a papa, I rocked my baby to sleep on a baby carrier,” the actor confessed. Well, at least Masanobu Ando has earned a brand new image as a family man, don’t you think?


Ami, Editor of J-Entertainment


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