Machiko Kyo
Kyodo News

Star of Rashomon, Machiko Kyo, dies at 95

One of the stars of the classic film Rashomon has died this past Sunday on May 12, 2019. The Japanese film studio, Toho, announced that Machiko Kyo died of heart failure in a Tokyo hospital, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The Japanese film actress was 95 years old when she died. She is best known for playing the samurai’s wife, in Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon. The classic movie won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1951. The film was revolutionary for its multiple points of view and nonlinear storytelling. Furthermore, it helped elevate Japanese movies to international acclaim.

Machiko Kyo

Machiko Kyo was born in 1924 in Osaka, Japan, as Motoko Yano, according to Wikipedia. She began her entertainment career as a dancer at the Daiei Co where she was discovered by movie producer Masaichi Nagata in 1949. Nagata helped secure her the main female role in Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, a film that he was producing. Although Machiko Kyo and Masaichi Nagata had a highly publicized love life, the two never married.

Following the success of Rashomon, Nagata secured many more roles in Japanese movies. She appeared in such film classics as Ugetsu, Gate of Hell, and Yasujiro Ozu’s Floating Weeds. In total, she has 88 acting credits to her name as she worked into her eighties. The only non-Japanese movie she worked on was the American movie The Teahouse of the August Moon, which starred Marlon Brandon. In it, she played a geisha and she was rewarded with a Golden Globe nomination.

Rashomon – Daiei Film

Throughout her career, the movies she worked on garnered many awards overseas. As a result, she was nicknamed the “Grand Prix Actress.” Before she retired from the entertainment industry, she secured a role in a television show called Haregi, Koko Ichiban, which aired in 2000. In 2017, at the 40th Japanese Academy Awards, she was presented with the award of merit.

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