Setsuko Hara Poster


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Overview (5)

Born in Yokohama, Japan
Died in Kanagawa, Japan  (pneumonia)
Birth NameMasae Aida
Nickname The Eternal Virgin
Height 5' 4¼" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Setsuko Hara became one of Japan's best-loved stars over her 30-year film career. Her signature character type, variations on a daughter devoted to her parents and home, inspired the nickname that stayed with her until retirement: the Eternal Virgin. To some extent, reality mirrored her roles in these films. In a society that considers marriage and parenting almost obligatory, she remained single and childless, something of a controversy in Japan in the 1950s. Fortunately she was popular enough to avoid criticism, but the 1950s were still a hard decade. She was plagued by ill health, missing out on several top roles as a result, and she witnessed the death of her camera-man brother in a freak train accident on set.

In 1963, shortly after the death of her mentor, director Yasujirô Ozu, she suddenly walked away from the film industry. At age 43, and at the height of her popularity, she bluntly refused to perform again, angering her fans, the industry, and the press. She implied acting had never been a pleasure and that she had only pursued a career in order to provide for her large family; this explanation is seen as the cause of her popularity backlash. She moved to a small house in picturesque Kamakura where she remained, living alone (though apparently sociable with friends), and refusing all roles offered.

She is undoubtedly known mostly for her work with Yasujiro Ozu, making six films with the great director, including the so-called Noriko trilogy, of which Tokyo Story (1953) is probably the best-known. She also worked with Akira Kurosawa, Mikio Naruse, Hiroshi Inagaki, and many others.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: R. Hill

Trivia (6)

Kamakura, Kanagawa Japan [June 2012]
Retired to Kanagawa, Japan
Sister-in-law of director Kumagaya, Hisatora.
Her final film, which was a sudden and surprising departure for the star, was Chushingura (1962), which was also the final movie appearance for Japan's first film actor, Unpei Yokoyama.
She was hired to act in a German-Japan co-production, but when differences developed two films emerged in 1937. The films, Die Toechter Der Samurai and Atarashiki Tsuchi ('The New Earth') shared elements of a story and Hara Setsuko.
Given how her character's name in her screen debut Tamerau Nakare Wakodo Yo was 'Setsuko,' Aida Masae chose the name for her professional alias going forward.

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