Hidari Sachiko (1930—)

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Hidari Sachiko (1930—)

Japanese actress and filmmaker. Born in Toyama, Japan, in 1930; married Susumu Hani (b. 1928, a film director); children: daughter Miyo.


Inn at Osaka (1954); The Cock Crows Again (1954); The Maid's Kid (1955); The Crime of Shiro Kamisaka (1957); The Insect Woman (1963); She and He (1963); Bride of the Andes (1963); This Madding Crowd (1964); The Scarlet Camellia (1965); Mishima (1985); Sukiyaki (1995); (as director-producer) The Far Road (1977).

One of the few Japanese women to have worked as an actress, director and producer, Sachiko Hidari is best known in the international film community as one of Japan's leading actresses. Hidari was born in Toyama, Japan, in 1930, and employed briefly as a high school music and gymnastics teacher before she began her acting career in 1952 with an independent film company, Sogo Geijutsu. After working as a bit player in several movies, Hidari's break came with her performances in An Inn at Osaka and The Cock Crows Again. In 1963, Hidari appeared in two films that garnered her international attention: She and He and The Bride of the Andes. Both were directed by her husband Susumu Hani.

In 1977, the Japan National Railway Union commissioned Hidari to make The Far Road. Hidari produced, directed and starred in the film as Satoko, a working-class wife of a retired railroad worker who grapples with a society that persists in making women second-class citizens. Two years before, Hidari had told Joan Mellen : "Ordinary people are the foundation of Japanese life, including the women who support our entire society."

Sachiko Hidari's interest in issues facing women both on and off screen is long-standing. She was an out-spoken advocate of women's rights in the early 1960s, long before others of her generation. "We have to insist sometimes on our voices being heard," she told Mellen. "Japanese women are about one hundred years behind Western women." Though Hidari's career as an actress has extended into the late 20th century, the male-dominated studio system stymied her, as well as Japan's first woman director Kinuyo Tanaka (1907–1977), from pursuing a career behind the camera.


Kuhn, Annette, and Susannah Radstone, eds. The Women's Companion to International Film. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994.

Mellen, Joan. Voices of Japanese Cinema. NY: Liveright, 1975.

Deborah Jones , Studio City, California