Veteran actor Kodama Kiyoshi has passed away at the age of 77. His management agency broke the news that he succumbed to stomach cancer at a Tokyo hospital at 12:28pm on Monday, May 16.
According to his agency, Kodama began feeling ill in late February of this year. A medical examination discovered that he had stomach cancer, and he began treatment in late March. Unfortunately, the cancer also spread to his liver, and last weekend his condition turned for the worse.
Kodama, whose real name was Kitagawa Kiyoshi, was born in 1934 and grew up in Tokyo. He was involved in theater during his time at Gakushuin University, and after graduation he passed an audition with the studio Toho. He began appearing in many Toho films during the 1960s, including Kurosawa Akira’s “Warui Yatsu Hodo Yoku Nemuru” (“The Bad Sleep Well”).
Kodama left Toho to go freelance in 1967. Besides his film roles, he also became well known in television dramas, such as “Arigatou,” “Shiroi Kyoto,” and “HERO.”