Yoko Minamida dies at 76

Japanese actress was major star in the 50s and 60s

Yoko Minamida, a major star in the 1950s and 1960s who later developed a thriving second career in TV, died in Tokyo on Oct. 21. She was 76. The cause of death was subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Born in Tokyo, Minamida made her screen debut in 1953 for the Daiei studio and quickly rose to stardom, working with Kenji Mizoguchi on two pics: “A Story from Chikamatsu” and “Princess Yang Kwei-fei.”

 In 1955, she moved to the Nikkatsu studio, where she starred in Takumi Furukawa’s “Season of the Sun” (1956), a smash hit that launched the so-called “Sun Tribe”boom for pics about rebellious youth looking for sex and kicks on Shonan Beach — Japan’s nearest equivalent to Malibu. Minamida proceeded to turn out dozens of pics for Nikkatsu, working with Shohei Imamura and Seijun Suzuki, among others studio helmers.

 In 1961 she married her co-star on “Season of the Sun,” Hiroyuki Nagato, and they became one of Japan’s most famous show biz couples. As her pic career faded in the mid-1960s, Minamida made a smooth and successful transition to TV as both an actress and MC. She also continued to appear occasionally in pics, with the last being Nobuhiko Obayashi’s “Song of Goodbye” in 2006.

In 2004 Minamida began to suffer from dementia and in 2006 ended her show biz career. In 2008, Nagato, her principal caregiver, filmed a docu of their struggle with her illness that was a huge, controversial ratings hit. 

— Mark Schilling

More Film

  • Stuber

    ‘Stuber’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Stuber.” Ads placed for the comedy had an estimated media value of $4.91 million through Sunday for 1,325 national ad airings on 42 networks. [...]

  • BTS - J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jimin,

    BTS' 'Bring the Soul: The Movie' Gets Global Theatrical Release

    BTS will be back on the big screen this summer. The Korean pop group announced today that their latest feature film, “Bring the Soul: The Movie,” will have a global release on August 7. It arrives just six and a half months after the septet’s last film release, “Love Yourself in Seoul.” “Bring the Soul” [...]

  • Box Office: 'Yesterday' Movie Takes on

    Box Office: 'Annabelle Comes Home' and 'Yesterday' Take on 'Toy Story 4'

    The weekend box office has gone to the dolls. “Annabelle Comes Home,” a supernatural horror film about a possessed toy, is facing off against another band of plastic figurines: “Toy Story 4.” Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” is expected to dominate box office charts again over newcomers “Annabelle Comes Home” and “Yesterday,” a fantasy musical set [...]

  • 'The Current War' Trailer: Benedict Cumberbatch,

    Benedict Cumberbatch and Nicholas Hoult Feud in 'The Current War' Trailer (Watch)

    101 Studios has released an official new trailer for the Martin Scorcese-produced thriller, “The Current War,”  offering a glimpse into the dramatic 19th century battle over electricity that became known as the “war of the currents.” The film, which is a dramatization of real-life events, will follow the tumultuous journey of Thomas Edison, played by [...]

  • Ford v Ferrari

    Oscars: 31 Upcoming Films That Could Enter the Awards Race

    The year reaches the halfway mark on June 30, and traditionally films from the first six months have an uphill battle in the Oscar race. However, this year’s January-June crop might get a boost from the accelerated schedule: Nominations voting is a tight Jan. 2-Jan. 7, 2020. So if voters start their homework now, early [...]

  • Yesterday Movie Danny Boyle

    Danny Boyle on 'Yesterday,' Leaving 'Bond 25' and Why the Beatles Still Rock

    Danny Boyle would like to reintroduce you to the Beatles. The iconic foursome certainly needs no introduction, but in his movie “Yesterday,” which debuts June 28, the director envisions a word where nobody has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. That is, nobody besides Jack Malik. When the struggling songwriter, portrayed by newcomer Himesh [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content