Nationality: Japanese. Born: Hideko Hirayama in Hakodate City, 27 March 1924. Education: Attended Bunka Gakuin High School to 1939. Family: Married the director Zenzo Matsuyama, 1955. Career: Child actress: made film debut at age five in Haha for Shochike studio; 1932—first stage appearance; worked for P.C.L. (later Toho) studio until 1946, and Shin-Toho studio, 1947–50; then freelance; popular singer from 1949; also a writer and painter; worked on television from 1968. Awards: Japan Mainichi Eiga Concourse, 1954, 1955, 1957 and 1961; Japan Kirema Jumpo Award for Best Actress, for Floating Clouds, 1955. Address: 1 Azabu Nagasakacho, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
Films as Actress:
Haha (Nomura) (as Haruko)
Dai-Tokyo no ikkaku (A Corner of Great Tokyo) (Gosho); Reijin (Shimazu); Chichi
Watashi no papa-san mamaga suki; Uruhashiki ai; Ai yojinrui to tomo ni are (Shimazu); Bofuu no bara; Onna wa itsuno you nimo; Shimai; I chitaro yaai (Nomura); Tokyo no gassho (Tokyo's Chorus) (Ozu) (as the daughter); Reijin no bisho
Jonetsu; Nanatsu no umi: Teiso-hen; Edo gonomi: Ryogokuzoshi (Inoue); Yokin ajo-san; Tengoku ni musubu koi; Hototogisu (A Cuckoo) (Gosho); Nezumi-kozo Jirokichi: Kaiketsu-hen (Akiyama)
Jukyu-sai no haru; Yotamono to kyakusen-bi; Hoho o yosureba (Shimazu); Riso no otto; Rappa to musume (Shimazu); Hatsukoi no haru
Onna to umareta karanya; Toyo no haha; Nukiashi sashiashi; Nihon josei no uta; Sonoyo no onna (Shimazu)
Haha no ai (Ikeda); Ramuru eteruneru
Shindo: Akemi no maki, Ryota no maki
Hanayome karuta (Gosho); Hanakago no uta (Song of the Flower Basket) (Gosho) (as Hamako); Otto no teiso: Haru kitareba, Aki futatabi (Yamamoto) (as Mutsuko); Edokko Kenchan; Misemono okoku; Ojo-san; Nampu no oka; Kaminari oyaji
Hanataba no yume; Shinryu-ro; Tsuzurikata kyoshitsu (Yamamoto) (as Masako); Niji tatsu oka (Otani); Chokoreito to heitai (Sato)
Uruhashiki shuppatsu (Yamamoto); Hojiro sensei (Abe); Chushingura; Higuchi Ichiyo (Namiki); Wareraga kyokan (Our Teacher) (Imai)
Hideko no oendancho (Chiba); Shinpen Tange Sazen: Koiguruma no maki; Soyokaze chichi to tomoni (Yamamoto); Ane no shussei (Kondo); Tsurigane-so (Ishida); Songoku
Sakujitsu kieta otoko (Makino) (as Okyo); Uma (Horse) (Yamamoto) (as Ine); Awa no odoriko (Makino); Jogakuseiki; Hideko no shasho-san (Hideko the Bus Conductor) (Naruse)
Musashibo Benkei; Kobo no seishun; Matteita oyoko (Makino); Minami kara kaetta hito; Fukei-zu (Makino) (as Taeho); Suiko-den (as Taeho); Zohu fuhei-zu (Makino) (as Taeho)
Ahen senso (Makino); Ai no sekai (Aoyagi); Yamaneko Tomi no hanashi; Hanako-sen; Hyoroku yume monogatari; Wakiki hi no yorokobi
Obaasan; Sanjaku Sagohei; Yottsu no kekkon
Shori no himade
Urashima Taro no koei (The Descendants of Taro Urashima) (Naruse); Aru yo no tonosama (Lord for a Night) (Kinugasa) (as Taeko); Toho shoboto; Kita no san-nin (Saeki); Yoki no onna (Saeki)
Toho sen-ichi-ya (1001 Nights with Toho) (Ichikawa); Oedo no oni (Hagiwara); Ai yo hoshi to tomoni (Abe); Kofuku he no shotai (Chiba)
Aijo shindansho; "Machiko" yori: Hana hiraku (A Flower Blooms) (Ichikawa); Sanbyaku-rokujugo-ya: (365 Nights in Tokyo); Tokyo-hen (Ichikawa); Sanbyaku-rokujugo-ya (365 Nights in Osaka) (Ichikawa); Niji o idaku shojo
Haru no tawamure (Yamamoto); Guddobai (Shima); Ginza kankan musume (Shima)
Shojo-dakara (Shima); Sasameyuki (Abe) (as Taeko); Munekata Shimai (The Munekata Sisters) (Ozu) (as Mariko); Senka o koete; Sasaki Kojiro
Onna no mizukakami; Karumen Kokyo ni kaeru (Carmen Comes Home) (Kinoshita) (title role); Zoku Sasaki Kojiro; Karumen Junjo su (Carmen's Pure Love) (Kinoshita) (title role); Wagaya wa tanoshi (Nakamura)
Asa no hamon (Trouble in the Morning; Morning Conflicts) (Gosho) (as Atsuko Takimoto); Tokyo no ekubo; Inazuma (Lightning) (Naruse); Onna to iu shiro: Mari no maki; Onna to iu shiro: Yuko no maki
Entotsu no mieru basho (Four Chimneys; Where Chimneys Are Seen) (Gosho) (as Senko Azuma); Asu wa docchi da; Gan (Wild Geese) (Toyoda) (as Otama)
Dai-ni no seppun; Onna no sono (The Garden of Women) (Kinoshita) (as Yoshie Deishi); Kono hiroi sora no dokokani; Nijushi no hitomi (Twenty-Four Eyes) (Kinoshita) (as Miss Hisako Oishi)
Ukigumo (Floating Clouds) (Naruse) (as Yukiko Koda); Wataridori itsukaeru (Hisamatsu); Tooi kumo (Distant Clouds) (Kinoshita); Kuchizuke; Onna doshi
Shin Heike monogatari Yoshinaka o meguru san-nin no onna (Three Women around Yoshinaka) (Kinugasa) (as Fuyuhime); Kodomo no me (Kawazu); Tsuma no kokoro (A Wife's Heart) (Naruse); Nagareru (Flowing) (Naruse)
Kumo no bohyo yori: Sora yukaba; Arakure (Untamed) (Naruse) (as Oshima); Yorokobi mo Kanashimi mo ikutoshitsuki (The Lighthouse) (Kinoshita); Fuzen no tomoshibi (A Candle in the Wind; Danger Stalks Near) (Kinoshita)
Harikomi (Nomura); Muhomatsu no issho (The Rickshaw Man) (Inagaki) (as Mrs. Yoshiko Yoshioka)
Onna ga kaidan o agaru toki (When a Woman Ascends the Stairs) (Naruse) (as Keiko Yashiro); Musume tsuma haha (Daughters, Wives, and a Mother) (Naruse); Fuefuki-gawa (The River Fuefuki) (Kinoshita)
Namonaku mazushiku utsukushiku (Happiness of Us Alone) (Kinoshita) (as Akiko Katayama); Ningen no joken III (A Soldier's Prayer; The Human Condition) (Kobayashi) (as woman in settler's village); Tsuma to shite haha to shite (As a Wife; As a Woman; The Other Woman) (Naruse); Eien no hito (The Bitter Spirit; Immortal Love) (Kinoshita)
Onna no za (The Wiser Age; Woman's Status) (Naruse); Futari de aruita ikutoshitsuki (The Seasons We Walked Together) (Kinoshita); Horoki (A Wanderer's Notebook; Lonely Lane) (Naruse) (as Fumiko Hayashi); Burari burabura monogatari (My Hobo) (Matsuyama) (as Komako)
Onna no rekishi (A Woman's Life; A Woman's Story) (Naruse) (as Nobuko)
Midareru (Yearning) (Naruse) (as Reiko Morita)
Ware hitotsubu no mugi naredo (Could I but Live) (Matsuyama); Rokujo yukiyama tsumugi (Dark the Mountain Snow) (Matsuyama) (as Ine Rokujo)
Hikinige (Moment of Terror) (Naruse) (as the mother)
Zoku namo naku mazushiku utsukushiku (Matsuyama); Chichi to ko (Our Silent Love) (Matsuyama); Hanaoko Seishu no tsuma (The Wife of Seishu Hanaoka) (Masumura) (as Ojaku)
Oni no sumu yakata (Devil's Temple) (Misumi) (as Kaede)
Kokotsu no hito (Toyoda)
Suri Lanka no ai to wakare (Love and Separation in Sri Lanka) (Kinoshita); Futari no Iida
Shodo satsujin: Musuko yo (Oh My Son!) (Kinoshita) (as the mother)
By TAKAMINE: articles—
"Matsuyama and Takamine on film," an interview, in East-West Film Journal (Honolulu), June 1987.
By TAKAMINE: books—
Pari hitori-aruki, Tokyo, 1953.
Maimai tsuburo, Tokyo, 1955.
Watashi no interview, Tokyo, 1958.
Watashi no tosei nikki [My Professional Diary], 2 vols., Tokyo, 1976.
Iomono mitsuketa, Tokyo, 1979.
Tabi wa michizure Gandala, with Zenzo Matsuyama, Tokyo, 1979.
Daidokoro no okestra, Tokyo, 1982.
Ninjo banashi matsutaro, Tokyo, 1985.
Watashi no umehara ryuzaburo, Tokyo, 1988.
On TAKAMINE: article—
Birnbaum, P., "The Odor of Pickled Radishes," in New Yorker, 5 November 1990.
Holloway, Ron, "Hideko Takamine," in Filmrutan (Sundsvall), 35/4, 1992.
* * *
From her first screen appearance at age five, Hideko Takamine was for decades one of the most beloved Japanese screen stars. At the Shochiku Studio, she appeared in films of Gosho, Shimazu, Hotei Nomura, and others, mostly in the family-film genre. Her recognition increased after she moved to the Toho Studio and began to work under the producer Fujimoto and the director Kajiro Yamamoto. In Tsuzurikata kyoshitsu, based on a best-selling autobiography, she played an impoverished 13-year-old girl struggling to live a decent life. In Uma she played a village girl who raises a horse for the army, and her affection for the horse is delicately accented by the naturalistic direction of the film. In these two films, Takamine won critical acclaim, in addition to her popular fame.
After the Toho labor union's strike of 1946, she left for a new studio, Shin-Toho, and became the main actress there. Her most representative work at this studio was in Ozu's The Munekata Sisters, to which she brought her light, comic flair to the serious and tragic tone of the film. After becoming freelance, she began to choose more meaningful roles. Among her various postwar roles, her collaborations with Naruse, Kinoshita, and her husband, Matsuyama, are most important.
Takamine became the indispensable heroine in 12 Naruse films, in which she created the archetype of the strong-willed, hardworking woman unrewarded at the bottom of society or subjugated by the family system. Among these excellent portrayals, her roles in Floating Clouds was outstanding, bringing her and the film all the major awards of 1955. Playing a character living in the confusion of postwar Japan, she gave a passionate performance as a woman who cannot help clinging to an unfaithful man, leading to her own destruction.
While Naruse's heroines tend to be caught in tense conflicts with men, which eventually are resolved by the woman's spiritual victory, the heroines of Kinoshita and his student Matsuyama are more melodramatic. Takamine impressively played humanistic heroines who survive their unfortunate environment by good-natured sincere efforts. She moved audiences to tears with her performance in Kinoshita's Twenty-Four Eyes and The Lighthouse and in Matsuyama's Zoku namo naku mazushiku utsukushiku. She also showed her comedic talent as a half-witted stripper in Kinoshito's light satires Carmen Comes Home and Carmen's Pure Love, which reflected the optimistic mood of the immediately postwar democracy. As Takamine gradually undertook more serious roles, however, she had little subsequent opportunity to demonstrate her comic flair.