Watanabe Ken Fighting Hepatitis

Hollywood-based actor Watanabe Ken (46) reveals in his newly published autobiography “Dare? – Who Am I?” that he has hepatitis C. At a PR event held yesterday in Tokyo’s Ginza district, he said he is in good condition at the moment, but is still undergoing treatment. Since June of last year, he has been having weekly injections of Interferon and takes medicine twice daily. In February, the virus took a turn for the better, and if that condition continues for a year or so, the treatment will be considered successful. Like many hepatitis sufferers, he contracted the disease as a result of receiving infected blood. He had blood transfusions as part of his treatment for leukemia, which developed in 1989 at a time when his acting career was really taking off. The hepatitis was discovered shortly before he started filming the 2002 Tom Cruise movie “The Last Samurai”. The huge debts incurred by his wife during his years of medical care was a major factor in their acrimonious divorce, which was finalized last year. Watanabe got remarried to the actress Minami Kaho (42) in December. He is currently appearing in, and is executive producer of, the movie “Ashita no Kioku” (Tomorrow’s Memories) about a middle aged man who develops early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It is now obvious why he has been able to bring such passion to the project as he has battled not once but twice with life-threatening disease.