Left: Namigoro Rashomon as Kannuki the Giant
While watching Akira Kurosawa's 1962 film Yojimbo last night, I became fascinated with the presence of a particular actor. It took me a few minutes to figure out the character's name, which was "Kannuki the Giant," at which point I learned that the actor's name was Namigoro Rashomon.
Since the Internet search engines have only a few thumbnail-sized images of Namigoro Rashomon, I used my laptop's screen-capture function to create this image. I now expect this blog to be flooded with Namigoro Rashomon's many adoring fans around the globe.
Unfortunately, little information exists in English on Namigoro Rashomon, so I had my Japanese-speaking daughter translate some of the Japanese Wikipedia article on him. Born in 1920, the 7-foot tall Namigoro Rashomon had a career as a professional wrestler before landing a few film roles between 1957 and 1964. He won an important Japanese wrestling title in 1946, and the literal English translation of his ring name is "Giant Horse-Man."
The hulking Namigoro Rashomon stands out in this film not only for his size - unusual by standards of the 1960s and especially so for Japanese actors - but for his menacing countenance. He soundly thrashes the Sanjuro Kuwabatake, the antiheroic character of lead actor Toshirô Mifune, and the scenes where Namigoro Rashomon walks around with an oversized wooden mallet remind me of one of the gang scenes in A Clockwork Orange.
That is about all I could dig up on Namigoro Rashomon. In the comments section please feel free to fill in any other details on his life and careers that you can discover.