Meiko Kaji

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Meiko Kaji
Native name 梶 芽衣子
Born Masako Ohta[1][2]
(1947-03-24) March 24, 1947 (age 68)
Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
Ethnicity Japanese
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1965-present

Meiko Kaji (梶 芽衣子 Kaji Meiko?, born March 24, 1947) is a Japanese actress and singer. She has appeared in about 100 films,[3] with her most famous roles being outlaw characters in early 1970s films, such as the rebels of the Stray Cat Rock series, the assassin Lady Snowblood, or the murderous Sasori from the Female Convict 701: Scorpion series.

Life and career[edit]

Meiko Kaji was born in the Kanda area of Tokyo and graduated from the Yakumo Academy high school in Meguro, Tokyo. She began work in the film industry under her real name, Masako Ota, at Nikkatsu studio in 1965 after graduating from high school.[1] In 1969 she appeared in Nihon Zankyoden, one of a series of films directed by Masahiro Makino, who recognized her acting ability and gave her the stage name of Meiko Kaji.[2] From 1970 to 1971 she appeared in the Noraneko Rokku (Stray cat/Alleycat Rock) series of films about delinquent young people.

In 1971, Nikkatsu moved into the pink film business, and to avoid this, Kaji moved to Toei Company.[1] There she made the Female Convict 701: Scorpion series of films. In 1973 she took on the role of Yuki in the revenge-themed film Lady Snowblood, followed by a sequel, Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance. She went on to appear in several of Kinji Fukasaku's films, such as Yakuza Graveyard (1976). In 1978, she starred in Sonezaki Shinjū, for which she earned nominations for Best Actress at five different awards shows, winning four of them.[4]

Kaji has worked in television since the 1980s. In 1989 she portrayed Omasa, an informant, in the television jidaigeki Onihei Hankachō (the ShochikuFuji Television version starring kabuki actor Nakamura Kichiemon II).

She is also a singer. She sang the theme song to Lady Snowblood, "Shura no Hana" (修羅の花), and the theme song of the Female Convict Scorpion series, "Urami Bushi" (怨み節). When these songs were both used in Kill Bill,[1] it led to a revival of interest in her music. Her songs were released on CD for the first time.[5] This encouraged her to resume her musical career.[5] In 2009 she released a single, Onna wa yametai. In 2011 Kaji put out her first new album in 31 years, Aitsu no suki-so-na burūsu (あいつの好きそなブルース)[6] with songs written by Ryudo Uzaki and Yoko Aki.

With the renewed interest in her due to Kill Bill, she also received many offers of acting roles from Hollywood, but refused them all, saying she could not give a good performance in a language other than Japanese.[7]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Sasagawa Saho Matatabi Shirizu - Kuresakatouge e no chisou (1972) - Oshizu
  • Terauchi Kantarō Ikka (1974) TV series .... Shizue Terauchi
  • Sorekara no Musashi (1981) TV series ... Yuri-hime
  • Kaseifu wa mita! 2 (1984) (TV)
  • Sutaa tanjō (1985) TV series
  • Tantei Kamizu Kyōsuke no satsujin suiri 8: Izu Shimoda-kaigan ni akai satsui ga hashiru (1988) (TV) .... Shōko Hamano
  • Aoi sanmyaku '88 (1988) .... Umetaro
  • Onihei hankachō (1989) TV series .... Omasa
  • Onihei hankachō (1995) ... aka Onihei's Detective Records (International: English title)
  • Kenkaku Shōbai (1998) TV series
  • Kaseifu ha mita! 21 (2003) (TV) .... Mayumi Hirao
  • Anata no tonari ni dare ka iru (2003) TV series .... Shimako Matsumoto
  • Nogaremono orin (2006) TV series
  • Hasshū mawari kuwayama jūbei (2007) TV series

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

Title (romaji) Title (Japanese) Released Notes
Jingi Komoriuta / Koi ni inochi o 仁義子守唄/恋に命を July 5, 1970
Inochi no Namida / Kanashii Egao 命の涙/悲しい笑顔 March 5, 1971
Hamabe no Meruhen / Ai he no kitai 浜辺のメルヘン/愛への期待 July 5, 1971
Gincho Wataridori / Gincho Buruusu 銀蝶渡り鳥/銀蝶ブルース March 5, 1972 Theme song from Wandering Ginza Butterfly
Urami Bushi / Onna no Jumon 怨み節女の呪文/女の呪文 December 1, 1972 Theme song from Female Convict 701: Scorpion
Kaji Meiko No Miryoku 梶芽衣子の魅力{A面「さそり」サントラ、B面「銀蝶」サントラ} December 25, 1972 A-side: theme song from Female Convict 701: Scorpion, B-side: theme song from Wandering Ginza Butterfly
Meiko no Fute-Bushi / Onna Hagure Uta 芽衣子のふて節/おんなはぐれ唄 April 15, 1973
Yadokari / Kakioki やどかり/かきおき September 1, 1973
Hagure-Bushi / Kiba no Ballad はぐれ節/牙のバラード July 10, 1973
Shura no Hana / Hoo Yare Ho... 修羅の花/ほおやれほ・・・・・ December 25, 1973 Theme song from Lady Snowblood (film)
Jeans Blues / Ingabana ジーンズぶるうす/因果花 March 25, 1974 Theme song from Jinzu burusu: Asu naki furaiha
Kono Atarashii Asa ni / Ame no Yoru Anata wa この新しい朝に/雨の夜あなたは November 25, 1974
Meinichi / Akane Kumo 命日/あかね雲 September 21, 1975
Hoshii Mono Wa / Imasara Nante Shikaranaide Kudasai 欲しいものは/今更叱らないでください~恋文~ February 21, 1977
Fukurokouji Sanbancho / Nokoribi 袋小路三番町/残り火 September 21, 1977
Akane Gumo / Motomachi Chanson あかね雲/元町シャンソン May 21, 1978
Banka / Hiyoke Megane 晩夏/陽よけめがね July 21, 1979
Shuki No Uta / Aa Ii Osake 酒季の歌/ああ いいお酒 May 21, 1980
Atsui Sake / Nagasaki wa Ajisai-Moyou no Aishu 熱い酒/長崎はアジサイ模様の哀愁 January 1980
Kawaita Hana / Kirisame Hotel 乾いた華/霧雨ホテル December 21, 1984
Fushigi Ne / Fune Ni Yurarete 不思議ね/舟にゆられて July 21, 1994
Onna Wo Yametai / Omoide-Biyori 女をやめたい/思い出日和 June 24, 2009

Albums[edit]

Title (romaji) Title (Japanese) Released Notes
Gincho Wataridori 銀蝶渡り鳥 July 1, 1972
Hajiki Shishu はじき詩集 June 1, 1973
Orijinaru Besuto 12: Yadokari やどかり〈オリジナルベスト12〉 October 25, 1973
Otoko Onna Kokoro No Aika 男・女・こころの哀歌 April 25, 1974
Golden Star Twin Deluxe ゴールデンスター・ツイン・デラックス May 25, 1974
Sareyo Sareyo Kanashimi No Shirabe 去れよ、去れよ、悲しみの調べ November 25, 1974
Kyo No Wagami Wa... きょうの我が身は・・・・・ December 21, 1975
Akane Gumo あかね雲 August 21, 1978
Wakare Urami Namida Uta 別れ 怨み 涙うた November 21, 1979
Shuki No Uta 酒季の歌 October 28, 1980
Zenkyoku Shu 全曲集 2004
Meiko Kaji - Best Collection 梶芽衣子ベスト・コレクション March 24, 2010
Aitsu No Suki Sona Burusu あいつの好きそなブルース May 25, 2011

Awards and nominations[edit]

3rd Hochi Film Award[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d D., Chris (2005). "Meiko Kaji". Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film. London ; New York: I.B. Tauris. p. 59. ISBN 1-84511-086-2. 
  2. ^ a b Isoda, Tsutomu (31 August 2008). Nihon Eiga Meisaku Kanzen Gaido: Shōwa No Autorō Hen Besuto 400 1960-1980 [Complete Guide to Classic Japanese Films: 400 Best Outlaw Films of the Showa Era 1960-1980] (in Japanese). p. 71. ISBN 978-4-401-75122-8. 
  3. ^ "Profile at Ameba.Jp", 梶芽衣子プロフィール (ameba.jp), retrieved February 9, 2012 
  4. ^ "Sonezaki Shinju (1978) Awards". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 19, 2008. 
  5. ^ a b Shiina, Muneyuki (1 June 2011). "Kaji Meiko Interview at Rooftop magazine" (in Japanese). Retrieved 16 February 2012. 
  6. ^ 梶芽衣子、31年ぶりの切れ味 オリジナルアルバム発売, asahi.com, 1 June 2011. Accessed 3 June 2011.
  7. ^ Shinsuke Kasai (interviewer), Meiko Kaji (interviewee) (2012). Nihon Eiga Retorosupekutibu. Nihon Eiga Senmon Channeru. 
  8. ^ Credits (booklet). Arrow Films. 2015. p. 3. AV007. 
  9. ^ 報知映画賞ヒストリー (in Japanese). Cinema Hochi. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]