Setsuko Hara, Japanese Screen Legend, Dies at 95

27 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Setsuko Hara, Japanese Screen Legend, Dies at 95.

Hara was 37 when she told an esteemed academic in a one-on-one magazine interview in 1957, “Men may not exactly regard women as pets, but they are definitely partial to women who are cute and sweet.” Big-boned for a Japanese woman of her generation, Hara griped that men often thought she was giving them a dressing-down even when she felt sure that her eyes were gentle and kind. TOKYO:- The Japanese actress who starred in famed director Yasujiro Ozu’s “Tokyo Story” and a host of other classic films has died aged 95 — with the news only emerging nearly three months after her passing.

Japan Prime Minister Debuts New Social Programs to Help Economy: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday he would increase spending on social programs and raise the minimum wage as he tries to jump-start the flagging economy ahead of an election next summer.The actress, born Masae Aida in Yokohama, had been a virtual recluse since her retirement in 1962, and news of her death only reached the public when her family made the announcement, as Japan’s Kyodo News Agency reported Wednesday. Hara may have been half joking, but I find it quite interesting that these remarks simply did not match the persona she projected on the silver screen–a classical Japanese woman, demure and chaste. The death of Setsuko Hara dominated Japanese front pages on Thursday, with headlines lauding her as a “legendary” performer and the “Eternal Madonna”.

Japan Saying Sayonara to Long Hours at the Office: The lights aren’t burning so late at some of Japan’s workplaces, as more and more workers trade in notoriously long hours at the office for flexible workdays, smartphones and telecommuting. I am sure many old fans remember her as such from the roles she played in films directed by Yasujiro Ozu, including the 1953 classic “Tokyo Story.” In the Akira Kurosawa film “Hakuchi” (The Idiot), she was completely convincing in her role as a femme fatale with a heart of ice. Hara had been in hospital since mid-August and her death on September 5 from pneumonia was not immediately made public “as she wished no fuss be made”, her 75-year-old nephew told Kyodo News agency.–AFP She made her debut as an actress in the 1930s, but rose to prominence after World War II working with film master Yasujiro Ozu, most notably on Tokyo Story.

Hara’s most famous part was of a widow who is kind toward her dead husband’s parents after they are snubbed by their own children in the widely celebrated “Tokyo Story,” a 1953 film by Ozu. Among these, her most well-known and highly regarded performance was her portrayal of the grieving widow Noriko — the name of a number of her characters in Ozu’s films — who takes care of her dead husband’s parents in Tokyo Story (1953). These included The Daughter of the Samurai (New Earth), a German-Japanese co-production directed by Mansaku Itami and Arnold Fanck that was designed to strengthen ties between the soon-to-be wartime allies. Hara once told The Asahi Shimbun that she loved tear-jerker movies. “You watch them and bawl your eyes out, and that leaves you more beautiful afterward, including your face,” she said. “I mean it.

A poll of noted regional film-makers and international critics published last month at the Busan International Film Festival rated the drama as the best Asian film of all time. It’s true.” At the end of the 1957 magazine interview mentioned above, she laughed at her own outlandish comment: “You know, I would like boys to be born from men, literally.” Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments.

In Ozu’s Late Spring (1949) and Early Summer (1951), she played a modest and elegant woman in movies that tackled the issue of fraying family bonds as Japan’s economy rapidly modernised. Hara – who reportedly never married and was known in Japan as the “Eternal Virgin” – abruptly withdrew from the movie industry at age 42 after her last film in 1962. In retirement, she lived in a house near her relatives in Kamakura, a scenic seaside city south of Tokyo that once served as Japan’s mediaeval capital.

But in a rare interview with a newspaper in 1992, she played down her accomplishments as one of Japan’s foremost actresses during what some herald as a golden age of cinema for the country. After the war, Hara became a key face in Japan’s cinematic revival, and was cast in a lead role in Akira Kurosawa’s No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) and Kōzaburō Yoshimura’s A Ball at the Anjo House (1947), both of which lamented the price Japan paid for its prewar militarism. In addition to the series of finely observed dramas she made with Ozu in the 50s, she played the female lead in Kurosawa’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot in 1951, and her final role, in the samurai epic Chūshingura, directed by Hiroshi Inagaki, in 1962. Renowned for her singular beauty as well as her acting skills, she shot to stardom after appearing in “Kochiyama Soshun,” a 1936 film directed by Sadao Yamanaka.

The Uniqlo clothing chain intends to hire 100 or so refugees at stores in Japan and abroad in a major expansion of its program of supporting the displaced people. The plan, which will start next year at the earliest, was announced Nov. 25 by Tadashi Yanai, the chairman and president of Uniqlo’s operator Fast Retailing Co. “Besides waiting for the governments and the United Nations to solve the (global refugee) issue, I believe private-sector businesses and individuals should also deal with (the support),” Yanai said at the news conference.

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