Tetsurō Tamba

Tetsurō Tamba Biography

Tetsurō Tamba

Tetsurō Tamba was a renowned Japanese actor who made a lasting impact on the film industry during his five-decade-long career.

Born on July 17, 1922, Tamba started his career as an interpreter at Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, but he eventually found his calling as an actor.

Tetsurō Tamba graduated from Chuo University in 1948 and joined the Shintoho company three years later, making his screen debut with Satsujinyogisha. He quickly became a prolific actor and worked in numerous Japanese films and television shows throughout his career.


Tetsurō Tamba gained international recognition in 1961 with his role in Bridge to the Sun, directed by Etienne Périer. He also appeared in Lewis Gilbert’s The 7th Dawn in 1964. However, Tamba is best known for his role as Tiger Tanaka in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, also directed by Gilbert. Despite his voice being dubbed by Robert Rietti, Tamba’s performance made a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.

In addition to his work in Western films, Tamba appeared in many Japanese productions and became a household name in his homec ountry. He played the lead character in the popular police dramas Key Hunter and G-Men ’75. In 1981, he won the Best Actor in a Supporting Role award at the Japan Academy Prize for his work in The Battle of Port Arthur.

Tetsurō Tamba’s talent extended beyond the screen, and he lent his voice to the Studio Ghibli anime film The Cat Returns as the “Cat King.” He also appeared in films such as Twilight Samurai, The Happiness of the Katakuris, and Gozu. Tamba was a spokesperson for the Dai Rei Kai spiritual movement, showing his diverse range of interests and passions.

In 2005, Tetsurō Tamba was hospitalized for influenza and appendicitis, which resulted in a significant weight loss and a decline in his health. He passed away on September 24, 2006, in Tokyo at the age of 84 due to pneumonia.

His last appearance in a television series was the 2005 Taiga drama Yoshitsune, and his final film appearance was in Sinking of Japan in 2006.