born March 10, 1928, Tokyo, Japan
died Aug. 4, 1996, Tokyo
Japanese comic actor.
Atsumi grew up in an impoverished section of Tokyo and took odd jobs in the theatre before first portraying the role of Tora-san for a television film in 1968. He went on to play the character until 1996 in the 48-film series Otoko wa tsurai yo ("It's Tough Being a Man"), the longest-running series in which the same actor portrayed the central character. Tora-san, a middle-aged peddler, is a charmingly irresponsible rogue who sells trinkets to passersby and unsuccessfully courts pretty women. Atsumi infused the role with witty wordplay and a folksy sincerity.