Hiroyuki Sanada confirmed a disturbing trend that happens to him “80 percent of the time” in the films and shows he stars in


Hiroyuki Sanada, the captivating Japanese actor who has wowed audiences in films like… Mortal Kombat And 47 RoninHe seems to have a hidden fingerprint on many of the characters he brings to life. Fans have noticed a recurring theme that appears in a surprising number of his roles.

Sanada in Mortal Kombat
A still from Mortal Kombat

This surprising statistic appears to hold true for about four-fifths of his projects. A note? It puts him at the same table as the legendary Sean Bean. That should probably be easy to guess now!

Hiroyuki Sanada says his character doesn't survive to the end

Hiroyuki Sanada in Mortal Kombat
A still from Mortal Kombat

The only thing Sanada and Sean Bean have in common is that their characters often suffer untimely deaths! While Sanada has delivered iconic performances throughout his career, a significant portion of his characters share a tragic fate – they don't make it to the credits.

Hiroyuki Sanada himself seems to find this recurring theme humorous. In a recent interview with AV Club, He was asked how he kept dying at the hands of cool characters, and he confirmed that things were pretty much the same during his time in Japan.

“Hiroyuki, one of my colleagues, Sam Barsanti, noticed that you kept dying at the hands of cool characters in several of your projects. Did you notice that?”

“Yes, and even in Japan I die in most cases. It's maybe 80 percent of the time, even when I'm the good one. But I like dying in a TV show or movie. It's dramatic. For me, survival is not the only goal. I enjoy it.” Hiroyuki Sanada replied after laughing

Of course, Sanada has played a number of characters who survive the story. But the sheer number of its characters meeting their demise has become a source of amusement for fans and even Sanada himself. Some speculate that this adds a level of tragic heroism to his roles, while others may joke that perhaps he should start doing “happily ever after” roles instead.

In 2024, Hiroyuki Sanada's samurai curse could be broken in Hollywood

Hiroyuki Sanada in Shogun
A statue of Shogun

Hiroyuki Sanada's rise to fame has made him Hollywood's go-to guy for samurai roles. Redditor @jgpalanca noted that he has appeared as a samurai in a whopping five productions – The Last Samurai, The Wolverine, 47 Ronin, Westworld, And Mortal Kombat. But here's a fascinating tidbit: none of his samurai characters manage to survive in their films!

But in 2024 the curse could finally be broken. Sanada takes on the role of Lord Yoshii Toranaga in Hulu's ongoing series Shogun, based on the 1975 novel of the same name. If they stay true to the source material, this could be the first time that Sanada's samurai survives to the end.