It was revealed yesterday that veteran actress Kishida Kyoko recently died of a brain tumor at a Tokyo hospital. She was 76. Her ex-husband, actor Nakatani Noboru, died just last month. Kishida had been in hospital since January and was with her daughter and two grandchildren when she passed away last Sunday. One of the most versatile actresses of the postwar era, her most famous roles were as the “Suna no Onna” (Woman in the Dunes, 1964) and the voice of anime character Moomin. The daughter of a playwright, she was a successful stage actress who appeared in memorable performances of “Macbeth” and “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”. Her final stage role was as recent as October last year. “Suna no Onna” earned her worldwide acclaim when it won the Grand Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Veteran celebrity and politician Aoshima Yukio died yesterday. He was 74. A graduate of Waseda University, he first showed his multiple talents in 1966, when he wrote, directed and starred in the movie “Kane” (The Bell). He won the literary Naoki Prize in 1981 and penned many hit songs, including Sakamoto Kyu’s often-covered “Ashita ga Aru Sa”. He was perhaps the first celebrity to enter national politics, becoming an independent Diet member in 1968. In 1995, he was elected Governor of Tokyo but in his four-year term his most memorable achievement was to cancel the planned World City Expo ’96. He ran for national office again in 2001 and 2004 but failed to be elected both times.
Comedian Nakajima Tadayuki died yesterday morning from leukemia. He was just 35. Together with “angry man” Takeyama Takanori (photo left, 35), he was just breaking into the big time in 2004 as the straight man of the duo Cunning when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He had only recently married, in April 2004, and become a father the following September. He was hospitalized in December 2004 and, as we reported here in January 2005, he was expected to be back at work in about six months. He underwent a bone marrow transplant this summer and left the hospital, returning only as a day patient.