Sessue Hayakawa Quick Info
Height5 ft 7½ in
Weight72 kg
Date of BirthJune 10, 1886
Zodiac SignGemini
Date of DeathNovember 23, 1973

Sessue Hayakawa was a Japanese actor, matinée idol, voice actor, producer, director, and writer who became the first actor of Asian descent to achieve stardom as a leading man in the United States and Europe. One of the most celebrated stars in Hollywood during the silent film era of the 1910s and early 1920s, he became one of the first male s*x symbols in Hollywood. He starred in more than 80 feature films and is best known for playing Colonel Saito in the epic war film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and the Pirate Chief Kuala in the adventure film Swiss Family Robinson (1960). His filmography also includes House of BambooThe Beggar Prince, The Geisha Boy, Hell to Eternity, The Midnight SunThe Great Prince ShanDaughter of the DragonThe CheatThe Vermilion PencilThe Daughter of the SamuraiFive Days to LiveThe Illustrious PrinceWhere Lights Are LowThe Courageous CowardThe Call of the East, and The Soul of Kura San.

Born Name

早川 金太郎 (Hayakawa Kintarō)

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Other Name

Sessue Hayakawa

Sessue Hayakawa as seen in a 1918 promotional photographSessue Hayakawa as seen in a 1918 promotional photograph
Sessue Hayakawa as seen in a 1918 promotional photograph (Fred Hartsook / imperioretro.com / Public Domain)

Age

He was born on June 10, 1886.

Died

On November 23, 1973, Sessue Hayakawa died from a cerebral thrombosis, complicated by pneumonia, at 87 in Tokyo, Japan.

Sun Sign

Gemini

Born Place

Minamibōsō, Chiba, Empire of Japan

Nationality

Japanese

Japanese

 

Education

Sessue Hayakawa studied English. Reportedly, he also attended the University of Chicago and studied Political Economics.

Occupation

Actor, Producer, Director, Writer, Voice Actor

Family

  • Father – He was the head of a fishermen’s union.
  • Siblings – He had 5 siblings.

Build

Slim

Sessue Hayakawa pictured with a flight attendant in New York, c. 1960Sessue Hayakawa pictured with a flight attendant in New York, c. 1960
Sessue Hayakawa pictured with a flight attendant in New York, c. 1960 (PA / Film Images / CC BY-SA 4.0)

Height

5 ft 7½ in or 171.5 cm

Weight

72 kg or 158.5 lbs

Girlfriend / Spouse

Sessue Hayakawa had dated –

  1. Tsuru Aoki (1914-1961)​ – He got married to fellow Issei and performer Tsuru Aoki on May 1, 1914, and they later adopted Hayakawa’s son Alexander Hayes. The couple also adopted 2 daughters – Yoshiko (actor) and Fujiko (dancer). Sessue Hayakawa and Aoki remained together until her death in 1961.
  2. Ruth Noble – Sessue Hayakawa was also once romantically involved with actor Ruth Noble and Hayakawa’s first child, a son named Alexander Hayes (later changed to Yukio), was born in New York in 1929.
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Race / Ethnicity

Asian

Sessue Hayakawa was of Japanese descent.

Hair Color

Black

Eye Color

Dark Brown

Sexual Orientation

Straight

Distinctive Features

Charming looks

Religion

He dedicated himself to Zen Buddhism after his retirement.

Sessue Hayakawa as the Prince of the Island of Desire in a publicity still for the 1920 silent fantasy film 'The Beggar Prince'Sessue Hayakawa as the Prince of the Island of Desire in a publicity still for the 1920 silent fantasy film 'The Beggar Prince'
Sessue Hayakawa as the Prince of the Island of Desire in a publicity still for the 1920 silent fantasy film ‘The Beggar Prince’ (Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research / wisconsinhistory.org / Public Domain)

Sessue Hayakawa Facts

  1. Ever since he was a young boy, he wanted to travel overseas and hence studied English in preparation.
  2. Sessue Hayakawa’s family wanted him to become an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy but an injury put an end to those dreams. The incident happened when he was a student at the naval academy in Etajima and swam to the bottom of a lagoon on a dare and ruptured his eardrum. Due to the injury, he failed to qualify for the navy physical.
  3. As he failed to join the Imperial Japanese Navy, his father felt ashamed and the father-son relationship became strained. That made the 18-year-old Hayakawa attempt seppuku (ritual suicide) and in order to uphold his family’s samurai tradition, he stabbed himself more than 30 times in the abdomen. However, his life was saved when the family’s barking dog brought Hayakawa’s parents to the scene.
  4. Sessue Hayakawa was well-known for his discipline and martial arts skills.
  5. He was one of the highest-paid stars of his time, earning $5,000 per week in 1915 and $2 million per year through his own production company from 1918 to 1921.
  6. 3 of his films (The Cheat, The Dragon Painter, and The Bridge on the River Kwai) stand in the United States National Film Registry.
  7. Sessue Hayakawa was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1645 Vine Street, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California for his contribution to the motion picture industry.
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Featured Image by Fred Hartsook / imperioretro.com / Public Domain

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