Japanese actor Koji Yakusho was named Best Actor at this year's Cannes International Film Festival on Saturday for his leading role as a toilet cleaner in Wim Wenders' "Perfect Days."
Yakusho, 67, became the second Japanese actor to win the prize since Yuya Yagira in 2004, who won it at age 14 for "Nobody Knows." The acclaimed veteran actor played a leading role in Shohei Imamura's "The Eel," which won the festival's top award, the Palme d'Or, in 1997.
"Perfect Days" follows the story of Hirayama, who leads a simple life as a toilet cleaner in Tokyo and spends his spare time listening to music and reading books. Through some unexpected encounters, the story gradually reveals the protagonist's past.
During Saturday's award ceremony, Yakusho thanked Wenders and others who worked on the film for making Hirayama, his character, a "fascinating" one.
Yakusho, who hails from Nagasaki Prefecture, shot to fame in the 1996 Japanese hit comedy film "Shall We Dance?" where he played a ballroom-dancing salaryman. He also appeared in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Babel" in 2006.
This year's best screenplay award at the Cannes festival went to Japanese screenwriter Yuji Sakamoto for "Kaibutsu (Monster)," directed by Hirokazu Koreeda.
Before Sakamoto, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, both from Japan, won a joint prize for Hamaguchi's movie "Drive My Car" in 2021.