|Sessue Hayakawa Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 7½ in|
|Date of Birth||June 10, 1886|
|Date of Death||November 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 Bamboo, The Beggar Prince, The Geisha Boy, Hell to Eternity, The Midnight Sun, The Great Prince Shan, Daughter of the Dragon, The Cheat, The Vermilion Pencil, The Daughter of the Samurai, Five Days to Live, The Illustrious Prince, Where Lights Are Low, The Courageous Coward, The Call of the East, and The Soul of Kura San.
早川 金太郎 (Hayakawa Kintarō)
He was born on June 10, 1886.
On November 23, 1973, Sessue Hayakawa died from a cerebral thrombosis, complicated by pneumonia, at 87 in Tokyo, Japan.
Minamibōsō, Chiba, Empire of Japan
Sessue Hayakawa studied English. Reportedly, he also attended the University of Chicago and studied Political Economics.
Actor, Producer, Director, Writer, Voice Actor
- Father – He was the head of a fishermen’s union.
- Siblings – He had 5 siblings.
5 ft 7½ in or 171.5 cm
72 kg or 158.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Sessue Hayakawa had dated –
- 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.
- 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.
Race / Ethnicity
Sessue Hayakawa was of Japanese descent.
He dedicated himself to Zen Buddhism after his retirement.
Sessue Hayakawa Facts
- Ever since he was a young boy, he wanted to travel overseas and hence studied English in preparation.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sessue Hayakawa was well-known for his discipline and martial arts skills.
- 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.
- 3 of his films (The Cheat, The Dragon Painter, and The Bridge on the River Kwai) stand in the United States National Film Registry.
- 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.
Featured Image by Fred Hartsook / imperioretro.com / Public Domain