Yamashiro Shingo

The papers and TV are reporting that Yamashiro Shingo passed away on the 12th at the age of 70. He had long been suffering from diabetes. Yamashiro came to fame during the heyday of Toei jidaigeki, starring in such series as Hakuba doji (on TV and film) and Yagyu bugeicho, He easily made the shift to yakuza movies and was a featured player in the Battles without Honor and Humanity series. He later became very popular on TV as a host and panel member on many variety shows. He was married twice to the actress Hanazono Hiromi, but the relationship was apparently strained enough that their daughter, also an actress, was not even with him when he died.

Two things, I think, made Yamashiro stand out a bit. First was his love of film. Yamashiro penned a number of books of film criticism and hosted a TV movie show, as well as directed nearly a dozen films, including one of the bigger budget Nikkatsu Roman Porno movies, Meneko (1983). The second was his dedication to the cause of burakumin, the outcast caste in Japan that has suffered much discrimination. He often spoke about the entertainment community's discrimination against that caste and other minorities.

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