Mizonue Takiko

The morning papers are reporting the death of Mizunoe Takiko. She died of old age on November 16th at the age of 94. Most people remember Tākī, as she was fondly called, as a star of the Shochiku Shōjo Kagekidan (Shochiku's rival to Takarazuka), where she in the 1930s she stunned fans as "the beauty in men's clothes." She joined it in 1928 at the age of 13 and left in 1939 to start her own troupe. She was also famous after the war as a host of Kohaku utagassen (the Red and White Song Competition) when it was still on radio and then on TV, and as one of the team leaders on NHK's long-running TV game show, Gesture

But we should remember her as a dynamic film producer in an age when almost all the producers were male. She produced Taiyo no kisetsu (Season of the Sun) at Nikkatsu and is widely credited for building Ishihara Yujiro into a star (I wonder if the Kitahara Mie character in Arashi o yobu otoko is not based on her). She produced his first starring film, Kurutta kajitsu (Crazed Fruit, which Criterion has put out on DVD), as well as many other of Yujiro's films. The JMDB lists her as producer on 76 films, all at Nikkatsu. 

She also appeared as an actress in a number of films, the last being Obayashi Nobuhiko's Onna-zakari in 1994. A flamboyant figure who never married, she held her own funeral in 1993, hosted by Morishige Hisaya (who died last week), because "I want to see all your faces while I am still alive." 

There are a number of books on or by Tākī: 

Mizunoe Takiko : Himawari batchama / [chosha Mizunoe Takiko].

Taakii : Mizunoe Takiko den / Nakayama Chinatsu.

Mizunoe takiko : iroiro arimashita.

Tākī hōdan waratta naita

Minna yūchan ga sukidatta : tākī to yūjirō to kantokutachi.

Someone should really do some research on this fascinating figure.

Here is one of her song's on YouTube:

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