Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mitsuko Mori (1920-2012)

Mitsuko Mori
courtesy of Ken Mat
from Flickr
Thursday November 15, 12:28 p.m.

Over the last couple of days via NHK, I heard that veteran actress and show business queen, Mitsuko Mori, passed away on the 10th at the age of 92.

She was in so many stage plays, TV shows and movies. And for those who saw the Hayao Miyazaki classic, "Princess Mononoke", Mori played the role of Hii-sama, the wise woman of Ashitaka's village, in the original Japanese version.

I wasn't particularly a fan of hers but she was ubiquitious on the screen. Until the last few years, various channels seemed to make it an annual custom of showing her in her most famous play, "Horoki" where her character was required to do a gleeful somersault. And that is where I admired her. This is a lady...well into her 80s....who could pull off a move like that, let alone keep up the hard schedule of appearing on the stage daily or nightly. For a society that still reveres age to a certain extent, Mori must have seemed like a divine inspiration to many.

Unfortunately, in the last few years, even she couldn't stave off age indefinitely. That sparkly glint in her eyes disappeared as she entered her 90s, and her speech slowed a fair bit so that she decided to retire a few years ago. But she still retained that youthful lustrousness right up to the end.

This is Mori back in 1978 singing enka karaoke favourite, "Love Letter from Canada" with the David Bowie of Japan, Kenji Sawada.