Today, the film community and One Piece fandom is coming together to mourn the loss of a beloved talent. A report from Japan has confirmed Kunie Tanaka has died at 88. The beloved actor enjoyed a great many awards during his career in film, and he served as special inspiration for One Piece.
The report confirms the actor passed away in late March at the age of 88. For fans of One Piece, they might not know who Tanaka was on his own, but they might recognize his features. After all, the actor inspired the design of Admiral Kizaru. Creator Eiichiro Oda based many of the admirals on famous Japanese actors, and Tanaka is the final one to pass on.
Kunie Tanaka, the iconic Japanese actor who served as the inspiration for Admiral Kizaru's design, has sadly passed away at age 88, the final of the Admiral actor inspirations to do so.
May he rest in peace and be forever remembered pic.twitter.com/MHtayCDIXw— Artur - Library of Ohara (@newworldartur) April 3, 2021
As for his career, Tanaka got his big break in 1960 with The Bad Sleep Well. He continued to tackle projects like Kanjuro, Battles Without Honor and Humanity, and more.
If you want to know the other actors who helped inspire the One Piece admirals, the list is an illustrious one. Yusaku Matsuda is the one who inspired Aokiji while Bunta Sugawara helped bring Akainu to life. Shintaro Katsuo is the base for Fujitora while Momousagi is based on Michiyo Kogure. Finally, Chaton was designed after Kiyoshi Atsumi, so you can see Tanaka was ranked amongst some serious talent.
Our thoughts are with Tanaka's loved ones during this difficult time. May he rest in peace.