The first time I saw model turned actor, Hiroshi Abe was in that butt-kickin’ Thai martial arts movie, Chocolate (released in Japan as “Chocolate Fighter”) playing a role of Yakuza leader, Masashi. Then I saw him again in the Japanese movie, Aoi Tori as the mild-mannered teacher, Murauchi.  But I didn’t realize it then that they were the same actor until I researched about it.

That’s how Hiroshi Abe is.  Despite his tall frame and dark looks, he has a subtle, almost relaxing aura of gentleness about him. You fail to notice him at first but eventually that understated and elegant charm would quietly sneak up on you and before you know it you have become a fan for life.

I’ve seen him perform all kinds of roles – he can be dark and dangerous in one show and outright silly in another. Even in dramas where he has a minor role, his presence alone can make the shows worthwhile to watch. He does have a few shows with him as the major star (he needs more!), I’ve noticed that he chooses his projects well and that they haven’t disappointed me so far.

Among my favorites are: Kekkon Dekinai Otoko, At Home Dad, My Little Chef, Shiroi Haru, Change, Dragon Zakura, Tenchijin, and movies like Glorious Team Batista.

Here is my screen shot collection of Abe-chan’s roles, proving his versatility as an actor (the reason why he is such a dream catch for any casting director in Japan) and just like fine wine, he gets to look better and better every year:

In his most popular role as the paranormal skeptic, Jiro Ueda in the “Trick” TV and movie series (2000 – still ongoing).

As the gourmet restaurant owner with impeccable taste, Kensaku Tachibana (My Little Chef, 2002)

As advertising director, Kazuyuki Yamamura, forced to swallow his manly pride to take on the domestic role of an At Home Dad (2005).

Abe-chan as the eccentric, introverted architect, Shinsuke Kuwano in Kekkon Dekinai Otoko (2006).

The serious lawyer Kenji Sakuragi on a mission in Dragon Zakura (2006). Take note of the Boracay poster at the back.

With actress, Yuko Takeuchi, he plays Keisuke Shiratori in the medical drama/whodunnnit movie, Team Batista No Eiko (The Glorious Team Batista, 2008).

As the down-on-his-luck, former conman, Haruo Sakura in Shiroi Haru (2009), he is forced to take on odd jobs such as a traffic aide.

As Uesugi Kenshin, the powerful daimyo of 16th century Japan (Tenchijin, 2009-ongoing)

In the Thai action flick and international hit, Chocolate (2009) as a Yakuza gang boss, Masashi

This is his latest role as Akiyama Yoshifuru in the period drama, Saka no Ue no Kumo (Cloud on a Hill, 2009-ongoing) with “Departures” actor, Motoki Masahiro.

And finally, for his fans, feast your eyes on Abe Hiroshi as his glorious, 6’2″ self, clad from head to foot in Dolce & Gabbana on the March 2010 cover of Uomo (Japanese edition):

私は、阿部寛愛しています! Sigh! V (^_^=)

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