Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Actress Machiko Kyo, known for her roles in a number of classic Japanese films, died of heart failure at a Tokyo hospital on Sunday. She was 95.
Born in the city of Osaka, Kyo, whose real name was Motoko Yano, was a member of the Osaka Shochiku Kagekidan, a female revue troupe based in the city, before joining Daiei Film Co. in 1949. Daiei went bankrupt in 1971.
In 1950, she acted as heroine Masago in renowned director Akira Kurosawa’s “Rashomon,” which in the following year became the first Japanese movie to win the Golden Lion, the top prize of the Venice International Film Festival.
Kyo later starred in other international award-winning movies such as “Ugetsu” directed by Kenji Mizoguchi and Teinosuke Kinugasa’s “Gate of Hell,” earning her acclaim around the world as the “Grand Prix actress.”
She was regarded as an embodiment of both classical beauty and the free-spiritedness of postwar Japanese society, due in part to her un-Japanese physical attractiveness.
Kyo costarred with Marlon Brando in the Hollywood film “The Teahouse of the August Moon” and also appeared in Kon Ichikawa’s “Odd Obsession” and Yasujiro Ozu’s “Floating Weeds.”
After Daiei’s bankruptcy, Kyo played a variety of roles in television dramas even as the head of a group of assassins in “Hissatsu Shimainin,” part of the popular “Hissatsu” (“Sure Death”) series of period dramas.