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Noboru Ando
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    (May 24, 1926-December 16, 2015)
    Born in Tokyo, Japan
    Former member of the yakuza (Japanese mafia)
    Appeared in the films ‘Blood and Rules’ (1965), ‘Sympathy for the Underdog’ (1971), ‘Street Mobster’ (1972), ‘Graveyard of Honor’ (1975) and ‘The Big Boss’s Head’ (1979)
    He was expelled from multiple schools before being sent to reform school after being caught stealing.
    He formed a yakuza family of mostly college drop outs with over three hundred members.
    He controlled the post-WWII black market in the Shibuya district of Tokyo.
    He spent six years in prison (1958-64) for ordering a hit against Hideki Yokoi, a businessman who had insulted him.
    After leaving the yakuza to become an actor, he was twice arrested for illegal gambling.
    In most of his films, he portrayed a yakuza or other criminal.
    He retired from acting in 1979, then resumed his career in 1997, but mostly appeared in direct-to-video movies.
    His father was descended from samurai.
    He had a knife scar on his left cheek as a result of a brawl with a Korean gangster.
    After getting out of jail, he disbanded his yakuza family.
    He was nicknamed ‘the George Raft of Japan.’
    His explanation for his successful career change: ‘In Japanese, the only difference between yakuza and yakusha [actor] is one hiragana character.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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