It is no wonder that actor Ken Watanabe has played many roles as a Japanese samurai throughout much his career. Like the warriors of old, Watanabe has practiced a code of humility, honor and modesty with his approach to acting and stardom-even his first name is a common moniker meaning modesty. Watanabe has also faced death with the fearlessness of the samurai when he was diagnosed with leukemia in 1989. Though he would eventually recover, Watanabe spent the first half of the 1990s in and out of the hospital. But he never despaired and once healthy, Watanabe continued his venerable acting career with the same command for respect and integrity of the most ardent warrior.