Momoko Kōchi (1954)
7 March 1932
Taitō, Tokyo, Japan
|Died||5 November 1998
Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
|Cause of death||Colon cancer|
|Resting place||Yanaka Cemetery, Taitō|
|Other names||Momoko Hisamatsu|
|Spouse(s)||Sadataka Hisamatsu (m. 1961; d. 1998)|
She is best known for her roles in the original Godzilla, playing the character of Emiko Yamane (and later reprised the role in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah in 1995 for the last time), and in The Mysterians, playing Hiroko Iwamoto.
Kōchi's paternal grandfather was Viscount Masatoshi Ōkōchi, the third director of Riken; her father, a painter, was the second son of Masatoshi. Her husband, television producer Sadataka Hisamatsu, with whom she had a daughter, was descended from the Hisamatsu-Matsudaira clan who ruled over the Imabari Domain.
|Ancestors of Momoko Kōchi|
After graduating from Japan Women's University's affiliated high school, Kōchi worked as an office lady, but she joined Toho through their "New Face" program in April 1953, along with Akira Takarada, Kenji Sahara, Yū Fujiki, and Masumi Okada (who later moved to Nikkatsu). Her first role was in A Woman's Heart Released (女心はひと筋に Onna gokoro wa hitosuji ni) as Yaeko. One year later, she acted in movies directed by Kajirō Yamamoto.
It was in one of Yamamoto's movies that his protégé, Ishirō Honda, saw Kōchi while he was making a science fiction film, Godzilla, with a topical storyline. Honda chose her to play the main female role of Emiko Yamane. While her role served as the center of the movie's romantic subplot, it provided the purpose for the resolution of the main story. Even though she was inexperienced as an actress at the time, her role was excellent as she hoped for, and she did very well in it.
After her success in Godzilla, Kōchi was typecast in other science fiction and kaiju films, including Half Human and The Mysterians. She left Toho in 1958 to pursue her formal study of acting, which she did not receive upon early discovery in 1953.
One year after leaving Toho, Kōchi did her formal study of acting with Tsutomu Yamazaki and Kumi Mizuno and joined the troupe. She then debuted as a stage actress in William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Her subsequent movie appearances have been reduced as a result and she mostly performed on stage (including The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth), while occasionally performing in television commercials as well as drama (including her role as Shōko Tsunashi in Thank You (ありがとう Arigatō) from 1972 to 1973 with co-star Kiyoshi Kodama).
Kōchi made some appearances on TBS drama specials produced by Fukuko Ishii and written by Sugako Hashida. During her later years, she appeared as Toshiko Takahashi, a woman with Alzheimer's disease, in Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari (渡る世間は鬼ばかり), with Kunihiko Mitamura. She also made some appearances in two-hour dramas such as Doyō waido gekijō (土曜ワイド劇場).
In 1995, Takao Okawara offered Kōchi the chance to reprise her role as Emiko Yamane in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah. Although Otawara was used to working with younger actors, he was impressed by Kōchi's complete training and concentration. All of her scenes were completed in one day, and her cameo appearance attracted the public throughout Japan. She later recounted her appearance in an interview with CNN: "After the first Godzilla movie people pointed at me saying, 'Godzilla, Godzilla, Godzilla.' As a young woman I hated Godzilla, so I thought, 'no more Godzilla for me.' But 41 years later I watched the film again and realized how great it was for its anti-nuclear theme."
On 19 July 1997, Kōchi's last film, Ryōkan (良寛), was released. Two days later, on 21 July, she made a guest appearance in a TBS Monday Drama Special, Enka Shōtarō no ninjō jiken nisshi (演歌・唱太郎の人情事件日誌).
Later in the same year, Kōchi toured the Tōhoku region with the troupe for performances of Yu no noren (ゆの暖簾). During the tour, she complained about her poor health, and she was diagnosed with colon cancer in January 1998. Her cancer spread rapidly, and she did not undergo surgery at the time of diagnosis. One year earlier, on 15 December, her final performance was in Tsuruoka, Yamagata.
Kōchi continued her hospitalisation until she died on 5 November 1998 at the Japanese Red Cross Medical Center in Hiroo, Shibuya from colon cancer at the age of 66. On 29 October, a week before her death, she was baptised into the Roman Catholic Church under her baptismal name of "Maria" by Father Masahiro Kondō of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Her funeral was held on 9 November at St. Ignatius Church. Her grave is at Yanaka Cemetery in Taitō.
Due to Kōchi's roles in Catholic religious radio programs including Light of the Heart (心のともしび Kokoro no Tomoshibi) and Taiyō no hohoemi (太陽のほほえみ), she was congratulated by Pope John Paul II with two awards in 1996.
- Since childhood, Kōchi showed off her photograph, "My Lover," in which she was depicted with her grandfather Masatoshi.
- On 31 December 1957, Kōchi visited São Paulo for the opening of Toho's branch in Brazil with another Toho actress, Machiko Kitagawa (who would later become the wife of Kiyoshi Kodama). They then went to New York City in the United States to participate in the Japanese cinema exhibition. On 12 February 1958, they returned to Japan. At the time, worldwide travel liberalisation was still underway, and their visits to São Paulo and New York City became very valuable.
|1953||A Woman's Heart Released (女心はひと筋に Onna gokoro wa hitosuji ni)||Yaeko|
|1954||Take-chan shacho zenpen (坊ちゃん社員 前篇)||Mariko|
|Zoku Take-chan shacho (続・坊ちゃん社員)||Mariko|
|Mizugi no hanayome (水着の花嫁)||Chiiko|
|1955||Izumi e no michi (泉へのみち)||Ume Ogawa|
|Yuki no koi (雪の炎)||Yayoi Kōjima|
|Seifuku no otome tachi (制服の乙女たち)||Yukie Miyake|
|Sanjūsan go sha otonashi (33号車応答なし)|
|Half Human||Machiko Takeno|
|Aoi kajitsu (青い果実)||Chieko|
|1956||Okusama wa daigakusei (奥様は大学生)||Yoshiko Okamoto|
|Ikasama shinshiroku (イカサマ紳士録)||Masako|
|Konyaku sanbadori (婚約三羽鳥)||Eiko|
|Norihei no daigaku (のり平の浮気大学)|
|Ano musume ga nai teru hatoba (あの娘がないてる波止場)||Maki|
|Ōabare cha cha musume (大暴れチャッチャ娘)||Hatsuko|
|Hadashi no seishun (裸足の青春)|
|Tenjōtaifū (天上大風)||Atsuko Shiraishi|
|1957||Hoshizora no machi (星空の街)||Kumiko Nakagawa|
|Taian kichijitsu (大安吉日)||Michiyo Hiraoka|
|Goyōkiki monogatari (御用聞き物語)||Yūko|
|Jirochō gaiden: Ōabare Santarō gasa (次郎長意外伝 大暴れ三太郎笠)||Okyō|
|Nemuri kyōshirōburaihikae dainiwa madokadzuki sappō (眠狂四郎無類控 第二話 円月殺法)||Senya|
|`Dōbu~tsuen monogatari' yori zō (「動物園物語」より 象)||Yoshiko|
|A Rainbow Plays in My Heart (わが胸に虹は消えず Waga mune ni niji wa kiezu)||Ikuko Asō|
|Yoru no kamome (夜の鴎)||Harue|
|Datsugoku-shū (脱獄囚)||Ikuko Koide|
|The Mysterians||Hiroko Iwamoto|
|1958||The Badger Palace (大当り狸御殿 Ōatari tanuki goten) aka The Princess of Badger Palace|
|A Holiday in Tokyo (東京の休日 Tōkyō no kyūjitsu)|
|Furankī no boku wa san-ninmae (フランキーの僕は三人前)||Sayoko|
|O Tora-san dai hanjō (おトラさん大繁盛)||Taeko Inohara|
|1959||Date sōdō fūun roku jū ni man ishi (伊達騒動 風雲六十二万石)||Orie|
|1960||Onna no saka (女の坂)||Yumi|
|1961||Na mo naku mazushiku utsukushiku (名もなく貧しく美しく)||Sensei Kijima|
|1967||Koto yūshū ane imō to (古都憂愁 姉いもうと)||Etowāru's mother|
|Wakai tokei-dai (若い時計台)||Aya Koyanagi|
|1969||Yūhi ni mukau (夕陽に向かう)||Sanae Takayama|
|1971||Ama kara monogatari onna no asa (あまから物語 おんなの朝)||Kinuko|
|1973||Otoko janai ka tōshi manman (男じゃないか 闘志満々)||Kiku Hayakawa|
|Tokimeki (ときめき)||Nami Sunaga|
|1983||Konnichiwa hānesu (こんにちはハーネス)||Natsu Itami|
|1984||Honeymoon (蜜月 Mitsugetsu)||Mitsuko's mother|
|1985||Bodaiju no oka (菩提樹の丘)||Ayako Yūki|
|Lost Chapter of Snow: Passion (雪の断章 情熱 Yuki no danshō jōnetsu)||Kane|
|1986||Tabiji mura de ichiban no kubitsuri no ki (旅路 村でいちばんの首吊りの木)||Tomiko|
|1987||Tora-san Plays Daddy||Kimiko|
|1993||Gurenge (紅蓮華)||Yoshino Nakata|
|1995||Godzilla vs. Destoroyah||Emiko Yamane|
|1997||Kusakari jūjigun (草刈り十字軍)||Yōko Abe|
|1962-66||Judgment (判決 Hanketsu)||Keiko Inoue|
|1967-68||Atsumi Kiyoshi no naite tamaru ka (渥美清の泣いてたまるか)|
|1972-73||Thank You (ありがとう Arigatō)||Shōko Tsunashi|
|1978||Yūrei kaigan (幽霊海岸)|
|1979||Enzen chizu (沿線地図)||Tokiko Matsumoto|
|1982||Matsumoto Seichō no Ekiro (松本清張の駅路)|
|1994||Sister (妹よ Imōto yo)||Takako Matsui|
|1996-97||Wataru Seken wa Oni Bakari (渡る世間は鬼ばかり)||Toshiko Takahashi|
|1997||Enka Shōtarō no ninjō jiken nisshi (演歌・唱太郎の人情事件日誌)|
- Profile, allmovie.com; retrieved May 2010
- Momoko Kōchi on Internet Movie Database
- Saitō, Ken. 大河内正敏: 科学・技術に生涯をかけた男. 日本経済評論社, 2009. Retrieved 18 April 2016. (in Japanese)
- 大河内松平家（吉田藩）. Reichsarchiv. Retrieved December 2015. (in Japanese)
- 大河内子爵家 吉田藩主. 直球感想文 和館. Retrieved 14 February 2016. (in Japanese)
- メッセージありがとうございました. Retrieved 14 July 2016. (in Japanese)
- 久松松平氏（御家門・伊予今治藩家系）. Reichsarchiv. Retrieved December 2015. (in Japanese)
- "Person Details for Momoko Okochi, "Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Immigration cards, 1900-1965". FamilySearch.org. Arquivo Nacional, Rio de Janeiro. 23 Dec 1957. Retrieved 12 Nov 2016.
- Kikuchi, Hiroshi. 文藝春秋 - Volume 77. 1999. Retrieved 18 April 2016. (in Japanese)
- Lentz, Harris M. Obituaries in the Performing Arts. McFarland & Company, 1998. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
- Ryfle, Steve. Japan's Favorite Mon-star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G". Toronto: ECW Press, 1998. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
- Gekkan shinbun daijesuto - Volume 33. 1999. Retrieved 18 April 2016. (in Japanese)
- "Dying Actress Baptized After 30 Years of Radio Work for Church". UCANews.com. 1998-11-27. Retrieved 2017-04-12.
- 河内桃子. 谷中・桜木・上野公園裏路地ツアー. Retrieved 14 February 2016. (in Japanese)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Momoko Kōchi.|
- Momoko Kôchi on Internet Movie Database
- Momoko Kochi at AllMovie
- Momoko Kochi at Rotten Tomatoes
- Momoko Kochi at the TCM Movie Database
- Momoko Kochi at Elonet (in Finnish)
- Momoko Kochi at AlloCiné (in French)
- 河内桃子 at the Japanese Movie Database (in Japanese)
- 河内桃子 at allcinema (in Japanese)
- 河内桃子 at KINENOTE (in Japanese)
- 河内桃子 at MovieWalker (in Japanese)
- 河内桃子 at ◇テレビドラマデータベース◇ (in Japanese)