Aida Masae (会田 昌江)
17 June 1920
Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan
|Died||5 September 2015 (aged 95)|
|No Regrets for Our Youth |
Setsuko Hara (原 節子, Hara Setsuko, 17 June 1920 – 5 September 2015) was a Japanese actress. Though best known for her performances in Yasujirō Ozu's films Late Spring (1949) and Tokyo Story (1953), she had already appeared in 67 films before working with Ozu.
Setsuko Hara was born Masae Aida (会田 昌江, Aida Masae) in what is now Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama in a family with three sons and five daughters. Her elder sister was married to film director Hisatora Kumagai, which gave her an entry into the world of the cinema: he encouraged her to drop out of school, which she did and went to work for Nikkatsu Studios in Tamagawa, outside Tokyo, in 1935. She debuted at the age of 15 with a stage name that the studio gave her in Do Not Hesitate Young Folks! (ためらふ勿れ若人よ, tamerau nakare wakōdo yo).
She came to prominence as an actress in the 1937 German-Japanese co-production Die Tochter des Samurai (The Daughter of the Samurai), known in Japan as Atarashiki Tsuchi (The New Earth), directed by Arnold Fanck and Mansaku Itami. In the film, Hara plays a woman who unsuccessfully attempts to immolate herself in a volcano. She continued to portray tragic heroines in many of her films until the end of World War II, like The Suicide Troops of the Watchtower (1942) and The Green Mountains (1949), directed by Tadashi Imai, and Toward the Decisive Battle in the Sky, directed by Kunio Watanabe.
Hara remained in Japan after 1945 and continued making films. She starred in Akira Kurosawa’s first postwar film, No Regrets for Our Youth (1946). She also worked with director Kimisaburo Yoshimura in A Ball at the Anjo House (1947) and Keisuke Kinoshita in Here’s to the Girls (1949). In all of these films, she was portrayed as the “new” Japanese woman, looking forward to a bright future. However, in most of her movies, especially those directed by Yasujirō Ozu and Mikio Naruse she plays the typical Japanese woman, as either daughter, wife, or mother.
Hara’s first film of six with Yasujirō Ozu was Late Spring (1949), and their collaboration would last for the next twelve years. In Late Spring, she plays Noriko, a devoted daughter who prefers to stay at home and take care of her father than to marry, despite the urgings of her family members. In Early Summer (1951), she played an unrelated character also called Noriko, who wanted to get married, and finds the courage to do so without her family’s approval. This was followed by Tokyo Story (1953), perhaps her and Ozu's best-known film, in which she played a widow, also called Noriko whose husband was killed in the war. Her devotion to her deceased husband worries her in-laws, who insist that she should move on and remarry.
Hara, who never married, is nicknamed "the Eternal Virgin" in Japan and is a symbol of the golden era of Japanese cinema of the 1950s. She quit acting in 1963 (the year Ozu died), and subsequently led a secluded life in Kamakura, where many of her films with Ozu were made, refusing all interviews and photographs. For years, people would speculate about her reasons for leaving the public eye. Hara herself confessed during her final press conference that she never really enjoyed acting and was only using it as a means to support her family; however, many people continued to speculate over her possible romantic involvement with Ozu, or the possibility of failing eyesight.
After seeing a Setsuko Hara film, the novelist Shūsaku Endō wrote: "We would sigh or let out a great breath from the depths of our hearts, for what we felt was precisely this: Can it be possible that there is such a woman in this world?"
After more than half a century of seclusion, Hara died of pneumonia at a hospital in Kanagawa prefecture, on 5 September 2015, at the age of 95. Her death was not reported by the media until November 25 of that year due to her family only approaching them later (presumably for privacy). The anime film Millennium Actress (2001), directed by Satoshi Kon, is partly based on her life, although it was produced and released more than a decade prior to her death.
- Tamerau nakare wakodo yo (1935) - Osetsu
- Shînya no taiyô (1935) - Kimie Oda
- Midori no chiheisen zenpen (1935)
- Midori no chiheisen kohen (1935)
- Hakui no kajin (1936) - Yukiko
- Kōchiyama Sōshun (1936) - Onami
- Yomeiri mae no musume tachi (1936)
- Seimei no kanmuri (1936) - Ayako Arimura
- Tange sazen: Nikko no maki (1936)
- Kenji to sono imôto (1937)
- The Daughter of the Samurai (1937) - Misuko Yamato
- Tôkai Bijoden (1937)
- Haha no kyoku I (1937) - Keiko
- Haha no kyoku II (1937) - Keiko
- The Giant (1938) - Chiyo
- Den'en kôkyôgaku (1938) - Yukiko
- Shogun no magô (1938) - Kireii Nae Sasano
- Fuyu no yado (1938)
- Uruwashiki shuppatsu (1939) - Tomiko Hôjô
- Chushingura (1939, part 1, 2) - Oteru
- The Naval Brigade at Shanghai (1939) - young Chinese woman
- Machi (1939) - Sonomi Kihara
- Onna no kyôshitsu (1939, part 1, 2) - Chen Feng-ying
- Tokyo no josei (1939) - Setsuko Kimizuka
- Hikari to kage (19490, part 1, 2) - Sahoko Katsura
- Toyuki (1940) - Showa Kinema actress
- Totsugu hi made (1940) - Yoshiko
- Hebihimesama (1940) - Koto Hime
- Onna no machi (1940) - Ine
- Futari no sekai (1940)
- Shimai no Yakusoku (1940) - Sachiko
- Anî no hânayomê (1941) - Akiko
- Ôinaru kanô (1941)
- Kêkkon no seitaî (1941) - Haruko Sanno
- A Story of Leadership (1941) - eldest daughter
- Kibô no aozora (1942) - Chizuko
- Seishun no kiryû (1942) - Makiko, his sister
- Wakai sensei (1942) - Tomiko Hirayama
- Midori no daichi (1942) - Wife Hatsue
- Haha no chizu (1942) - Kirie
- Hawai Mare Oki Kaisen (The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malay) (1942) - Kikuko
- Hawai · Maree oki kaisen (1942) - Kikuko
- Ahen senso (aka The Opium War) (1943) - Airan [Ai Lan]
- Bôrô no kesshitai (1943) - Yoshiko
- Toward the Decisive Battle in the Sky (1943) - older sister
- Searing Wind (1943) - Kumiko
- Suicide Troops of the Watchtower (1943) - Commander Takazu's wife
- Ikari no umi (1944) - Mitsuko Hiraga
- Young Eagles (1944)
- Shôri no hi made (1945)
- Kita no san-nin (1945) - Sumiko Ueno
- Koi no fuunjî (1945) - Yukiko Hasebe
- Midori no kokkyô (1946) - Maki Kuriyama
- Reijin (1946) - Keiko
- No Regrets for Our Youth (1946) - Yukie Yagihara
- Kakedashi jidai (1947) - Miyako Tomoda
- A Ball at the Anjo House (1947) - Atsuko Anjô
- Onnadake no yoru (1947)
- Sanbon yubi no otoko (1947) - Shizuko
- Yuwaku (1948) - Takako
- Toki no teizo: zengohen (1948)
- Fujisancho (1948)
- Taifuken no onna (1948) - Kuriko Sato
- Kofuku no genkai (1948)
- President and a female clerk (1948) - Shop girl
- Tonosama Hotel (1949) - Aki Nagaoka
- Ojôsan kanpai (1949) - Yasuko Ikeda
- Aoi sanmyaku (1949) - Yukiko Shimazaki
- Zoku aoi sanmyaku (1949) - Yukiko Shimazaki
- Late Spring (1949, directed by Ozu) - Noriko Somiya
- Shirayuki-sensei to kodomo-tachi (1950) - Kayoko Amamiya
- Arupisu monogatari: Yasei (1950)
- Nanairo no hana (1950) - Teruko Kashiwagi
- Joi no Shinsatsushitsu (1950) - Dr. Tajima
- The Idiot (1951) - Taeko Nasu
- Early Summer (1951, directed by Ozu) - Noriko Mamiya
- Repast (1951) - Michiyo Okamoto
- Kaze futatabi (1952)
- Kin no tamago: Golden girl (1952)
- Tôkyô no koibito (1952) - Yuki
- Shirauo (1953) - Sachiko
- Tokyo Story (1953, directed by Ozu) - Noriko Hirayama
- Sound of the Mountain (1954) - Ogata Kikuko
- Non-chan Kumo ni Noru (1955) - Nobuko's mother
- Uruwashiki haha (1955) - Mitsuyo Ôta
- Shūu (1956) - Fumiko
- Aijô no kessan (1956) - Katsuko
- Kon'yaku sanbagarasu (1956)
- Jôshû to tomo ni (1956) - Sugiyama, manager
- Ani to sono musume (1956) - Akiko Mamiya
- Ōban (1957) - Kanako Mori
- Tokyo Twilight (1957, directed by Ozu) - Takako Numata
- Chieko-sho (1957) - Chieko Takamura
- Zoku Ôban: Fûun hen (1957) - Kanako Arishima
- Saigo no dasso (1957) - Tomiko
- Zokuzoku Ôban: Dotô hen (1957) - Kanako Arishima
- Onna de aru koto (1958) - Ichiko
- A Holiday in Tokyo (1958) - Chairman
- Oban kanketsu hen (1958)
- Onna gokoro (1959) - Isoko
- The Three Treasures (1959) - Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess
- Robo no ishi (1960) - Oren Aikawa
- Daughters, Wives and a Mother (1960) - Sanae Sakanoshi, the eldest daughter
- Fundoshi isha (1960) - Iku, Wife of Keisai
- Late Autumn (1960, directed by Ozu) - Akiko Miwa
- The End of Summer (1961, directed by Ozu) - Akiko
- Musume to watashi (1962) - Chizuko Iwatani
- Chushingura (1962) - Riku (final film role)
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- 原節子さん死去、日本映画黄金期を代表する女優 日刊スポーツ 2015年11月25日
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