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Wikipedia: Meiko Kaji


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Meiko Kaji

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, and the murderous Nami Matsushima from the Female Prisoner 701: Scorpionseries.

Meiko Kaji

Native name
梶 芽衣子

Born
Masako Ohta[1][2]

March 24, 1947(age 72)

Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1965-present

Life and careerEdit

Meiko Kaji was born Masako Ohta in the Kanda area of Tokyo and graduated from the Yakumo Academy high school in Meguro, Tokyo. She began to 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 drama Onihei Hankachō (the ShochikuFuji Television version starring kabukiactor Nakamura Kichiemon II).

Kaji 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 both these songs were used in the 2003 Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill,[1] there was a revival of interest in Kaji’s music that encouraged her to resume her musical career.[5] In 2009, she released a single, Onna wa yametai. In 2011, Kaji released 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.

Kaji received acting offers from Hollywood but refused them all, saying she could not give a good performance in a language other than Japanese.[7]

FilmographyEdit

FilmsEdit

TelevisionEdit

  • 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
  • Ōoku (1983)
  • 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 (1989-2016)… Omasa
  • 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
  • Kenkyaku shobai: Haru no arashi(2008) (TV)
  • Kekkon shinai (2012) TV series
  • Joiuchi: Hairyo zuma shimatsu(2013) (TV)
  • Taxi Driver no Suiri Nisschi 34 (2013) (TV)
  • Gokuaku Gambo (2014) TV series
  • Joshu Seven (2017) TV series
  • What Did You Eat Yesterday? (2019) TV series

DiscographyEdit

SinglesEdit

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 December 1, 1972 Theme song from Female Convict 701: Scorpion
Kaji Meiko No Miryoku