3 Hiroyuki Sanada Movies That You Must Watch If You Loved Him as Lord Yoshii Toranaga in Shōgun

Though Rachel Kondo & Justin Marks’ Shōgun has concluded, Hiroyuki Sanada has starred in plenty of similar flicks that are worthy of your attention!

hiroyuki sanada


  • Hiroyuki Sanada, a seasoned actor with over fifty years of experience, began his acting career at the age of six.
  • His recent notable performance was in Rachel Kondo & Justin Marks’ series Shōgun, where the actor played Lord Yoshii Toranaga.
  • Although the 10-episode series has ended, Sanada has previously appeared in some similar films, which you should watch.
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Hiroyuki Sanada has been honing his acting skills for over fifty years, having started when he was six years old. He landed his first role opposite the celebrated Japanese actor and martial artist Sonny Chiba in Game of Chance. Since then, the Tokyo-born actor, 63, has barely decelerated.

Although Shōgun has ended, Hiroyuki Sanada has previously appeared in some similar films, which you should watch.
Hiroyuki Sanada in Shōgun (Credit: FX)

That being said, we cannot overlook the brilliant performance he gave in Rachel Kondo & Justin Marks’ Shōgun. As Lord Yoshii Toranaga, he practically steals every scene of the FX series. Unfortunately, the 10-episode series is over, but he has starred in a number of similar flicks that are well worth your time. 

Nevertheless, Sanada’s résumé includes a number of stellar but lesser-known roles. Rest assured, if you enjoy his portrayal of Lord Toranaga, here are three must-see films starring the talented actor that will satisfy your craving for more of his compelling performances.


1. The Twilight Samurai (2002) 

In The Twilight Samurai, Hiroyuki  Sanada takes on the role of Seibei Iguchi.
Hiroyuki Sanada in The Twilight Samurai (Credit: Empire Pictures)

In this critically acclaimed film, helmed by Yoji Yamada, Hiroyuki Sanada takes on the role of Seibei Iguchi, a humble samurai struggling to make ends meet in 19th-century Japan. The Twilight Samurai, which also starred Rie Miyazawa, chronicles the life of Seibei Iguchi, a low-ranking samurai who works as a bureaucrat.

The depth and breadth of emotion in the actor’s performance in this role are truly remarkable, earning him high praise. 

The 2002 film received a number of awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. It is an absolute must-see for anyone who admires Sanada’s work because he gives his characters such depth and nuance.


2. The Last Samurai (2003) 

Hiroyuki Sanada co-stars with Tom Cruise in this epic historical drama as Katsumoto, a samurai warrior fighting to preserve his way of life in 19th-century Japan during the Meiji Restoration. Sanada’s portrayal of Katsumoto is both fierce and empathetic, mirroring his versatility as an actor.

Hiroyuki Sanada co-stars with Tom Cruise in this epic historical drama as Katsumoto.
Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai (Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Thus, we can assure that his presence in the Edward Zwick-directed film shines through, making it a must-see for fans of his work. Warner Bros. Pictures’ film grossed $456 million, making it the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2003 (Box Office Mojo). What’s more? the film, which also starred Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, and Ken Watanabe, received four Academy Award nominations.

3. Shogun’s Samurai (1978)

Last on our list is Kinji Fukasaku’s Shogun’s Samurai, a classic samurai film that stars Sanada as a skilled and honorable warrior. The actor skillfully portrayed Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi’s (Shinichi Chiba) son in one of his breakthrough roles. The movie, featuring Kinnosuke Yorozuya and Chiba, was a huge hit in Japan, where it even inspired a TV spin-off and earned five nominations for the Japan Academy Awards.

Kinji Fukasaku's Shogun's Samurai is classic samurai film that stars Sanada as a skilled and honorable warrior.
Shogun’s Samurai (Credit: Toei Company)

Any fan of historical dramas and action-packed movies should not miss Shogun’s Samurai, which features amazing fight scenes and a gripping plot—somewhat similar to the FX series Shōgun.

So, if you enjoyed Hiroyuki Sanada’s role as Lord Yoshii Toranaga, the above-mentioned three films are a must-see for any fan looking to delve deeper into his impressive filmography. From classic samurai epics to heart-wrenching dramas, Sanada’s talent knows no bounds, and these films witness his incredible acting abilities. 

Thus, you can’t afford to miss out on these performances; grab some popcorn, relax, and enjoy Hiroyuki Sanada’s cinematic brilliance while you’re waiting for Shōgun’s next season. 


Shōgun is available on Hulu and FuboTV. 


Written by Siddhika Prajapati

Articles Published: 1533

Between everyday normalities and supernatural abnormalities, Siddhika Prajapati finds the story in everything. Literature Honors Graduate and Post-Graduated in Journalism (from Delhi University), her undying need to deduce the extraordinary out of simplicity makes her a vibrant storyteller.

Serving as a Senior Entertainment Writer at Fandom Wire and having written over 1500 pieces, Siddhika has also worked with multiple clients and projects over the years, including Indian Express, India Today, and Outlook Group.

Who knows, maybe your next favorite persona on the screen will be crafted by her.