Veteran actor Makoto Fujita has passed away at the age of 76. Fujita, whose real name was Makoto Harada, died at a hospital in Suita, Osaka, on February 17. The cause of death was reportedly a ruptured aortic aneurysm.
Born in Tokyo in 1933 but raised mainly in Kyoto, Fujita was the son of silent-film star Rintaro Fujima. With his roots as a comedian, Fujita hit a turning point in his career when he starred in the comedy show “Tenamonya Sandogasa” (1962-1968), which achieved ratings as high as 60% in the Kansai region and over 40% in the Kanto region. His career languished a bit after the end of the show, but in 1973 he became a star on the “Hissatsu” Series of historical dramas, playing the role of Nakamura Mondo. His other notable works include “Hagure Keiji Junjoha” and “Kenkaku Shobai.”
In addition to television, Fujita was very active in film and theater. He also was known as a kayokyoku singer.
In 2008, Fujita was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and underwent a successful surgery. He returned to work later that year and continued acting while undergoing rehabilitation, but last year he was pulled from the drama series “JIN” due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. While still doing rehab, he began working again last month as a television narrator, with plans to fully resume acting this March.