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5 Heroines of Japan's Golden Age

By: Kenji

5 of the great actresses of classic Japanese cinema

Tanaka Kinuyo, 28th November 1909-21st March 1977

(The Life of Oharu)

The full moon has set.
On the frosty temple roof,
a cat’s fresh pawprints.

Shingun/Marching On
Young Miss
Your Neighbour and Mine
Dancing Girl of Izu
Woman of Tokyo
A Woman of Osaka (a lost film, apparently a masterpiece in which she’s remarkable)
Ornamental Hairpin
Five Women around Utamaro
The Love of Sumako the Actress
Hen in the Wind
Women of the Night
Flame of my Love
The Munekata Sisters
Lady of Musashino
Miss Oyu
The Life of Oharu
Where Chimneys are Seen
Ugetsu Monogatari
Sansho the Bailiff
The Woman of Rumour
Alone on the Pacific
Red Beard
Brothel No 8
Actress- a film about her

Takamine Hideko, 27th March 1924- 28th December 2010

(Floating Clouds)

A lily opened-
faint sounds of children’s voices
and a storm at sea

Tokyo Chorus
Hideko the Bus Conductress
The Munekata Sisters
Carmen Comes Home
Twenty Four Eyes
Floating Clouds
Times of Joy and Sorrow
The Rickshaw Man
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs
Immortal Love
Happiness of Us Alone

Hara Setsuko, 17th June 1920-

(Late Spring)

Moon behind the clouds,
The last autumn leaf will fall
where once were snowdrops.

Priest of Darkness
No Regrets for our Youth
The Ball at the House of Anjo
Late Spring
The Idiot
Early Summer
Tokyo Story
Sound of the Mountain
Tokyo Twilight
The End of Summer

Kyō Machiko, 25th March 1924-

(with cigarette, in Street of Shame)

A breeze through the pines.
Into the sunlit meadow-
look! a leaping deer.

Genji Monogatari
Ugetsu Monogatari
Older Brother, Younger Sister
Gate of Hell
Yang Kwei Fei
Street of Shame
Odd Obsession
Floating Weeds
The Face of Another

Kagawa Kyōko, 5th December 1931-

(Chikamatsu Monogatari/Crucified Lovers)

The bamboo grows straight.
An unknown bird is calling,
the water ripples.

Tokyo Story
Sansho the Bailiff
Chikamatsu Monogatari
The Shiinomi School
An Osaka Story
The Lower Depths
The Human Wall
The Bad Sleep Well
High and Low
Red Beard
After Life

not all their films on here, but a selection. Takamine Hideko was born 2 days after Kyo Machiko, but started surprisingly young in films. Hara is associated most closely with Ozu, Tanaka with Mizoguchi, Takamine with Naruse, but of course they appeared in many other films. There’s a useful article by Kinoshita Chika, Choreography of desire: analysing Kinuyo Tanaka’s acting in Mizoguchi’s films

For a development of this list, including other classic actresses, check out Mono no Aware’s list Great Muses of Japanese Cinema



Displaying 4 of 7 wall posts.
Picture of sodr2



ive sorta developed a crush on the last 3 girls... need to check out more of the first 2's films... great list (i dont blame you for fanning it yourself) :D

  • Picture of Kenji



    I take the liberty of fanning my lists i like more than the others!

Picture of Kenji



It's on the list, and isn't she a great actress!

Picture of Kenji



I've thought of having Munekata Sisters, not seen it but useful for having 2 together.

Picture of Mono No Aware

Mono No Aware


Excellent, yet again. Maybe a sequel featuring Iwashita Shima, Okada Mariko, Wakao Ayako and others is in order? By the way, Ozu's Munekata Sisters is also listed, and features both Tanaka and Takamine.