Japanese actress, singer Yoshiko Tanaka dies at 55

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Yoshiko Tanaka

Yoshiko Tanaka

Actress Tanaka Yoshiko, a for­mer mem­ber of the Japan­ese pop idol group Can­dies, died Thurs­day night at a Tokyo hos­pi­tal of breast can­cer. She was 55.

Tanaka pro­vided the voice of Kuniko Mit­suya in the 2006 anime fea­ture film Brave Story, an adventure-mystery.

Her first major role was as the star of Ima­mura Shohei’s 1989 film Kuroi Ame (Black Rain). Her por­trayal of Yasuko won her the Award of the Japan­ese Acad­emy, the Blue Rib­bon Award, the Hochi Film Award, the Kinema Junpo Award, and the award of the Mainichi Film Con­cours. The film itself received a tech­ni­cal jury prize at Cannes.

She was born Yoshiko Odate in Tokyo’s Adachi neigh­bor­hood on April 8, 1956. In 1972, she — along with Ito Ran and Fujimuri Miki — passed an audi­tion on an NHK music show. This spurred the trio to debut as Can­dies; in 1973, they released their first sin­gle, “Anata ni Muchu,”

While a mem­ber of Can­dies, Tanaka was known by the nick­name “Sue.” Still at the height of its pop­u­lar­ity, the group dis­banded in 1978.

After­ward, Tanaka returned to show busi­ness as an actress. Her films included Godzilla vs. Biol­lante, in which she played Asuka Okouchi. Among her TV cred­its were the Churasan series and Ie Naki Ko.

She mar­ried Odate Kazuo, the older brother of the late actress Nat­sume Masako, in 1991.

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