Kyo, Machiko (1924—)

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Kyo, Machiko (1924—)

Japanese actress immortalized in Kurosawa's Rashomon. Born in Osaka, Japan, on March 25, 1924.

Selected films:

(bit part) Tengu-daoshi (1944); Final Laugh (1949); The Snake Princess (Parts I & II, 1949–50); Resurrection (1950); Rashomon (1950); Pier of Passion (1951); The Enchantress (1951); A Tale of Genji (1951); Beauty and the Bandits (1952); Saga of the Great Buddha (1952); Ugetsu (1953); Gate of Hell (1953); A Certain Woman (1954); The Story of Shunkin (1954); The Princess Sen (1954); Bazoku Geisha (1954); Whirlpool of Spring (1954); Princess Yang Kwei Fei (1955); The Teahouse of the August Moon (U.S., 1956); Street of Shame (1956); Itohan Monogatari (1957); Dancing Girl (1957); A Woman's Skin (1957); Flowers of Hell (1957); Night Butterflies (1957); The Hole (1957); Chance Meeting (1958); The Loyal Forty-seven Ronin (1958); A Woman of Osaka (1958); The Makioka Sisters (1959); Paper Pigeon (1959); Odd Obsession (The Key, 1959); Floating Weeds (1959); A Wandering Princess (1960); The Last Betrayal (1960); Assault from Hell (1960); Fantastico

(1961); A Design for Dying (1961); The Black Lizard (1962); The Life of a Woman (1962); The Great Wall (1962); Buddha (1963); Sweet Sweat (1964); The Face of Another (1966); Daphne (1966); The Little Runaway (1967); Thousand Cranes (1969); The Family (1974); Yoba (1976); Tora's Pure Love (1976); Kesho (1985).

A veteran of over 90 films, Japanese actress Machiko Kyo began her career as a dancer and made the transition to films on the strength of her beauty and grace. Possessing a compelling sensuality, Kyo was one of the first Japanese actresses to be exploited for her sex appeal. In 1950, however, she displayed surprising dramatic skill as the vulnerable wife of a samurai in Rashomon, the Akira Kurosawa masterpiece that reintroduced Japanese film to the world market. Set in medieval Japan, the film tells of a woman (Kyo) who has been raped and her husband (Masayuki Mori) who has been murdered, apparently by the notorious bandit Tajomaru (Toshiro Mifune). The story is told three times by each of the principals in flashback; each time, the tale shifts to benefit the teller. Capturing the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and Hollywood's Academy Award as Best Foreign Film, the film brought Kyo international fame.

Machiko Kyo was subsequently featured in a string of movies during the 1950s and 1960s, in a wide variety of roles, from the traditional Japanese wife to a prostitute. Kyo worked with some of Japan's most notable directors, including Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugetsu, Street of Shame, and Princess Yang Kwei Fei), Kon Ichikawa (Odd Obsession), Yasujiro Ozu (Floating Weeds), and Shiro Toyoda (Sweet Sweat). Her only American film was The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956) with Marlon Brando.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts