Film: Joe Shishido
Shishido Jō – born December 6, 1933
Joe Shishido is a Japanese actor primarily known for his tough guy Yakusa roles in films throughout the late 50’s and 60’s. He is also known for his artificially inhanced cheekbones. Joe began his career playing mostly young policemen or romantic characters in small melodramas – to little success. In 1957 Joe opted for cheekbone augmentation surgery, hoping to make himself standout amongst all the other mildly handsome young men of the time. Some have described his new look as “ruggedly handsome” and others equated it as being distinctly “chipmunk-like”. Either way it worked and Joe instantly started playing tough guys and gangsters in starring roles. His most notable role is as the Number 3 hitman in Seijun Susuki’s Branded to Kill (1967). Other roles included Youth of the Beast (1963) the wonderfully titled Detective Bureau 23, Go to Hell Bastards and Gates of Flesh (1964). These types of movies lost favor in Japan in the late 60’s and Joe changed to more comic roles and also TV. Since the 1970s, Shishido has remained a popular figure in prime time TV shows mainly as a comedian. He was a popular host on the TV restaurant guide show “Kuishimbo Banzai” (“Hooray the Gourmets”), one of the longest running TV series in Japan. Joe returned to his tough guy persona in Kaizo Hayashi’s Mike Hama detective trilogy in the late 90’s. He continues to act today albeit rarely and looks pretty damn good (having removed his cheek implants at some point).