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Kinuyo Tanaka Edit Profile

actress , film director

Tanaka Kinuyo was a highly regarded and prolific actress best known for her films with director Mizoguchi Kenji.


Tanaka was born on 29 November, 1909 in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi, Japan.


She was immersed in the world of film having received her start in the world of entertainment at age fourteen, being a filmmaker herself, being the cousin of director Kobayashi Masaki and, very much like Hara Setsuko and Ozu Yasujiro, being anecdotally romantically linked with the aforementioned Mizoguchi.


The director would later recommend against her being hired as a director, which caused a rift between the two. She received her first known credit in Shochiku's Genroku Onna in 1924. She stayed to become the studio's biggest actress, and a paradigm of beauty, until approximately 1949 when she travelled to the United States Of America as an ambassador of Japanese culture. Upon her return from the US the Japanese detected a change of attitude in her, as well as noting a new short hairdo, which momentarily lead to some criticism. She had married director Shimizu Hiroshi, with whom she had worked, in 1929. Sources claim this was a mere cohabitation however. The marriage lasted a matter of months, but the two worked together beyond their romantic union. She married another one of her directors Gosho Heinosuke, but not before also starring in several Ozu films. It looked like films like Aizen Katsu and Naniwa Onna would be the height of her fame with all their popularity, but post-war films like Life Of Oharu, Sansho The Bailiff and Ugetsu were even bigger classics and immortalized the actress. Another of her many other noteworthy performances was in The Ballad Of Narayama based on a tradition and folklore of Japan. As if to complete her tour de force of Japanese cinema she directed several films and even worked with Kurosawa Akira in Red Beard. She died of a brain tumor in 1977.



She married director Hiroshi Shimizu in 1929 after appearing in a number of his films in the 1920s. Although they divorced after less than a year, she later played in a number of films directed by her ex-husband.

Hiroshi Shimizuspouse