Hisaya Morishige

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The Independent Online

Hisaya Morishige, who died on 24 November aged 96, was an actor who became the first recipient of Japan's Order of Culture from the field of popular art.

Born in Osaka, Morishige started his film career after the Second World War, rising to stardom after playing the role of a spoiled son from a rich family in the 1955 drama Meoto Zenzai and performing in comedy movies known as the "Shacho" series and the "Ekimae" series after their titles.

He was also involved in musicals and set a record in performing Yane No Ue No Baiorin-hiki (Fiddler on the Roof) 900 times, while also performing in television dramas and radio programmes. He was successful in singing and song-writing as well, his hit songs including "Shiretoko Ryojo."

After becoming head of the Japan Actors Union, he strived to improve actors' status, and was awarded the Order of Culture in 1991. His books include his autobiography Morishige Jiden.