Sayuri Yoshinaga

Sayuri Yoshinaga (吉永 小百合, Yoshinaga Sayuri, born 13 March 1945) is a Japanese actress and activist. She has won four Japan Academy Best Actress awards, more than any other actress, and has been called "one of the foremost stars in the postwar world of film."[1]

Sayuri Yoshinaga
Sayuri Yoshinaga.1962.jpg
Sayuri Yoshinaga in 1962
Born (1945-03-13) March 13, 1945 (age 75)
Years active1957–present
Japanese name
Kanji吉永 小百合
Hiraganaよしなが さゆり


Her first media appearance was in the radio drama "Akado Suzunosuke" in 1957, and she has been one of the most popular actresses in Japan since the 1960s, with fans called "Sayurist" (Sayurisuto) - for example, Akiyuki Nosaka and Tamori.[citation needed]

She made a contract with the movie corporation Nikkatsu and played the lead role in many of its films. In 1962, Yoshinaga played a junior-high school girl in her most famous film, "Foundry Town", and got the Japan Record Award for "Itsudemo Yume wo" (Always Keep the Dream) with the male singer Yukio Hashi. In the 1970s and 1980s, Yoshinaga appeared in films made by other companies, as well as in TV drama serials, commercials, and talk shows. After this period, she returned to films and she has featured in commercials for some big companies such as Sharp Aquos, Nissey and Kagome. She has been awarded the Japan Academy Prize four times. Yoshinaga has appeared in 122 films, mostly in the leading role.[2] Yoshinaga starred in Kon Ichikawa's Ohan and The Makioka Sisters.[3][4] She also starred in Yoji Yamada's Kabei: Our Mother and About Her Brother.[5][6]

In 2012, she starred in Junji Sakamoto's A Chorus of Angels.[7]


Yoshinaga graduated from Waseda University, the Schools of Letters, Arts and Sciences II in 1969. Under a tight schedule, she took the runners-up value in the school among the graduates in that year. In 1975, she married Taro Okada, a TV director worked in Fuji Television, keeping her maiden name "Yoshinaga" as her stage name. She has no children.[citation needed]

From the 1980s, after playing Yumechiyo in TV drama, a hibakusha geisha by Atomic bombings of Hiroshima, she has worked for the anti-nuclear movement. Her most well-known action is reading the poems about atomic bombs over 20 years, and she worked without guarantees for voice guidance in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. She is also famous for supporting a Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) club, Seibu Lions. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi, the former owner of this team is a fan of Yoshinaga, and she bought a pension from Tsutsumi's Seibu Railway group.[citation needed]

Selected filmographyEdit


Year Title Role Director Notes Ref
1960 Kenju burai-chō Denkō Setsuka no Otoko Dan Noriko
1960 Mutekiga Ore o Yondeiru Hamazaki Yukiko
1962 Foundry Town Jun Kirio Urayama Lead role
1963 Beyond the Green Hills Katsumi Nishikawa Lead role
1968 Monument to the Girls' Corps Toshio Masuda Lead role
1972 Tora-san's Dear Old Home Utako Yoji Yamada
1974 Tora-san's Lovesick Utako Yoji Yamada
1978 August Without the Emperor Satsuo Yamamoto
1980 Dōran Shirō Moritani
1983 The Makioka Sisters Yukiko Makioka Kon Ichikawa
1984 Station to Heaven Masanobu Deme Lead role
Ohan Ohan Kon Ichikawa Lead role
1987 Film Actress Kinuyo Tanaka Kon Ichikawa Lead role
1988 A Chaos of Flowers Akiko Yosano Kinji Fukasaku Lead role
1992 Gekashitsu Bandō Tamasaburō V Lead role
1993 Yearning Bandō Tamasaburō V Lead role
1998 Diary of Early Winter Shower Shinichiro Sawai Lead role
2000 Nagasaki burabura bushi Yukio Fukamachi Lead role
2001 Sennen no Koi Story of Genji Murasaki Shikibu Tonkō Horikawa Lead role
2005 Year One in the North Isao Yukisada Lead role
2008 Kabei: Our Mother Yoji Yamada Lead role
2010 About Her Brother Yoji Yamada Lead role
2012 A Chorus of Angels Junji Sakamoto Lead role
2014 Cape Nostalgia Izuru Narushima Lead role
2015 Nagasaki: Memories of My Son Nobuko Fukuhara Yoji Yamada Lead role
2018 Sakura Guardian in the North Tetsu Ezure Yōjirō Takita Lead role [8]
2019 The Bucket List Sashie Kitahara Isshin Inudo Lead role [9]
2021 Inochi no Teishaba Sawako Shiraishi Izuru Narushima Lead role


Year Title Role Network Notes Ref
1976 Kaze to Kumo to Niji to Takako NHK Taiga drama



  1. ^ Tatsuo, Inamasu (December 7, 2012). "Yoshinaga Sayuri: Last of the Silver Screen's National Heroines". Retrieved 2013-09-21.
  2. ^ "吉永小百合、映画出演122本目で初の医師役 コロナ禍で"いのち"の大切さ問う". Natalie. Retrieved January 29, 2021.
  3. ^ Thomas, Kevin (March 16, 1985). "Movie Review : 'Ohan': When A Woman Molds A Man". Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Gray, Scott A. (January 24, 2013). "The Makioka Sisters - Directed by Kon Ichikawa". Exclaim!.
  5. ^ Stewart, Henry (May 17, 2009). "Kabei: Our Mother". Slant Magazine.
  6. ^ Webb, Charles (July 16, 2010). "Japan Cuts 2010: About Her Brother Review". Twitch Film.
  7. ^ Shackleton, Liz (November 3, 2012). "Toei sings with A Chorus Of Angels". Screen International.
  8. ^ "吉永小百合、120本目の映画出演作「北の桜守」封切りに感無量「昨夜は眠れませんでした」". Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  9. ^ "吉永小百合121本目の映画が製作決定!天海祐希共演でハリウッド映画をリメイク". Movie Walker Plus. Retrieved February 1, 2021.
  10. ^ 報知映画賞ヒストリー. Cinema Hochi (in Japanese). Yomiuri Shimbun. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved January 26, 2010.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Sayuri Yoshinaga at Wikimedia Commons