Veteran actress Yoko Nogiwa died of lung adenocarcinoma in a Tokyo hospital on the morning of June 13th. She was 81.
Born in Toyama, Nogiwa began acting with theater troupes during her time at Rikkyo University. After her graduation in 1958, she entered public broadcaster NHK as an announcer. She left NHK and pursued a career in acting four years later, taking up supporting roles in television series and films.
In 1968, she co-starred in spy drama Key Hunter (キイハンター), co-created by Kinji Fukasaku. The 262-episode show, produced by Toei, ran for five years.
Nogiwa had a steady stream of supporting roles in films over her 50-year career, including the Kamikaze Cop series (やくざでかシリーズ), Koki Mitani’s All About Our House (みんなのいえ), Yukihiko Tstsumi’s Trick (トリック) series, and the Team Bastista medical drama series. Her final film role was in Yoshihiro Fukagawa’s When Will You Return (いつまた、君と 何日君再来).
Nogiwa had an even more prolific career in television. Despite being diagnosed with cancer three years ago, Nogiwa continued to appear regularly on television, including two series that were on the air this spring.
Actress Yukie Nakama, who played Nogiwa’s daughter in Trick, told local media that she was in shock by the sudden news. Her Trick co-star Hiroshi Abe and actress Nao Matsushita also expressed their grief in statements to the media. At least two major television networks are planning tributes this coming week by re-airing her television dramas and variety shows.
Nogiwa married her Key Hunter co-star Sonny Chiba in 1973. The two divorced in 1994.
Nogiwa is survived by her daughter, actress Juri Manase.