A Japanese of Korean descent, Ihara joined the Japan Action Enterprise, a theater troupe founded by Sonny Chiba , after leaving high school.Soon after, he began to act in numerous feature films and television dramas , including the 1996 NHK seriesFutarikko. In 2006, Ihara appeared as the Baron Takeichi Nishi in Clint Eastwood 's critically-acclaimed Academy Award -winning filmLetters from Iwo Jima, introducing him to an international audience.He has also authored a book,Kokorozashite Sōrō(志して候う?), which was published in Japan by Amoeba Books.
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