“Shogun” Actress Yoko Shimada, 69, Dies in a Tokyo Hospital

“Shogun” Actress Yoko Shimada, 69, Dies in a Tokyo Hospital

Japanese actress Yoko Shimada died in a Tokyo hospital on Monday July 25 at the age of 69. She had been suffering from colorectal cancer.

Her last public appearances had been on a radio program in Tokyo in November of last year, and at the Kadokawa Film Festival in December. At that event, she participated in a talk session about the 4K digitally restored version of her iconic The Inugami Family (1976). In that film, when she was in her early twenties, she’d portrayed the heroine. During the discussion, she was quoted as saying, “This is the first time I’ve been on stage with The Inugami Family. I’ve never seen it before. I personally like [this film] the most.”

Shimada added that she had been “surprised by the cleanliness of the screen” when she watched her youthful performance in the newly restored version. She also talked about the inside story behind the shooting of the film, the first time she had revealed this information in detail. She also recounted her satisfaction at appearing in a film that was still remembered so well.

A Japanese reporter covering the event commented on the actresses “unique appearance” at the talk session, writing that “Ms Shimada is five feet six inches tall, and when she took the stage…she looked thinner than she used to be on a variety show, but her skin tone is white and her beauty remains the same. As she talked, the sound of her breathing was picked up by the microphone and she seemed to have a hard time speaking out.”

Yoko Shimada made her film debut in the 1971 drama Go Go Kamen Rider. In addition to The Inugami Family, she appeared during the 1970s in Castle of Sand, Karei-naru Ichikozu, and Shiroi Kyoto. In 1980, she became well known to American audiences for her role as Mariko in the miniseries Shogun, for which she won a Golden Globe for Best Actress.

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