Tokyo Vice’s Ken Watanabe in Supporting Race, Counter to Reports

By Chanak Maduranga

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Tokyo Vice’s Ken Watanabe in Supporting Race, Counter to Reports

Ken Watanabe, the Oscar-nominated actor who is a star of the Emmy-buzzed HBO/Max drama series Tokyo Vice — he plays Hiroto Katagiri, a detective in the organized crime division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and a father-figure to Jake Adelstein (Ansel Elgort), an American journalist in Tokyo — is being entered for Emmys consideration as a supporting actor, contrary to widespread reporting that he would be pushed as a lead actor alongside costar Elgort, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Tokyo Vice, the most-viewed original on the Max platform, is currently in the awards conversation for its second season, which has been even better received (93 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) than its first (released in April 2022, it’s at 85 percent). It is competing in a year in which the Emmys’ drama categories are thin to an almost unprecedented degree, with only one past drama series nominee even eligible for recognition (Netflix’s The Crown) — and it seems as poised to capitalize on that opening as any drama series. Indeed, beyond the strong reviews and ratings, it attracted one of the largest audiences of any show this season to its official FYC event for TV Academy members back on April 3 at the Avalon in Hollywood.

For the first season of the show — the first big-budget U.S. TV series ever to shoot entirely in Japan, having secured access to film in parts of Tokyo that no foreign productions ever have before — Watanabe was entered in the supporting category. But he arguably made larger and more memorable contributions to the second season (which runs for 10 episodes versus season 1’s eight), which may have fueled the incorrect category speculation.

The show’s creator J.T. Rogers has said from the show’s inception that he saw season 1 as setting the table, and season 2 as flipping the table over. Indeed, in season 2, dark forces within the yakuza stop honoring the unspoken rules that dictate how the underworld operates and we see the repercussions. Katagiri previously tried to maintain a delicate peace between the different yakuza factions, but the arrival of detective Shoko Negate (Miki Maya) heralds a new, aggressive stance by the police to end the yakuza’s chokehold on the city. The question of the season is: Can the supposedly incorruptible Katagiri stay clean under enormous pressure and the yakuza’s threats towards his family?

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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