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Hideko Takamine

Hideko Takamine
Born March 27, 1924 (1924-03-27) (age 85)
Hakodate, Hokkaidō, Japan
Years active 1929 – 1979
Spouse(s) Zenzo Matsuyama (1955-present)

Hideko Takamine (高峰 秀子 Takamine Hideko?, March 27, 1924, Hakodate, Hokkaidō, Japan) is a Japanese actress, known for her film appearances in the 1950s and 1960s.


Life and career

Takamine (left) and Taro Shoji (right) in 1934

Her first role was in the Shochiku studio's 1929 film Mother (Haha), which brought her tremendous popularity as a child actor, billed at the same level in Japan as Shirley Temple. Some of her film appearances from the 1930s and 1940s were lost during the Second World War when Japan's film archives suffered from bombing and fires.

In 1950, she made what was considered a very daring move by breaking with the Japanese studio system, leaving the Shin Toho Studio and becoming a much sought-after freelance actress. Her films with directors Keisuke Kinoshita and Mikio Naruse during the 1950s and early 1960s made her Japan's top star. Her performance as a dedicated small town teacher observing her students' lives over several decades in Kinoshita's The Twenty-four Eyes (1954) is credited with that film's tremendous success and enduring popularity in Japan. Another powerful performance was as a tenant farmer's daughter who is raped and forced to marry the cruel landlord's crippled son in Immortal Love (1961).

Takamine was especially favored by director Mikio Naruse, starring in a dozen of his films and portraying strong-willed, hardworking women struggling in poverty or lowly positions, and often held down by the traditional family system. Some of her more moving roles include the tragic, love-struck heroine in Floating Clouds (1955) and an aging Ginza bar hostess desperate to escape her circumstances in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960). Naruse was shy, few of his closest collaborators knew him well and Hideko Takamine remembered - "Even during the shooting of a picture, he would never say if anything was good, or bad, interesting or trite. He was a completely unresponsive director. I appeared in about 20 of his films, and yet there was never an instance in which he gave me any acting instructions.'[1]

She married director-writer Zenzo Matsuyama in 1955, but set a precedent by choosing not to give up her acting career. She made many of her most memorable films in the 1960s and retired from making movies in 1979.




  1. ^ ' A dose of reality' article in 'the independent' 29 june 2007

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