Shogun star Yoko Shimada dies aged 69

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Yoko Shimada has died aged 69 credit:Bang Showbiz
Yoko Shimada has died aged 69 credit:Bang Showbiz

Yoko Shimada has died at the age of 69.

The Japanese actress was most famous for her role in the 1980 TV series 'Shogun', a performance that earned her a Golden Globe win and an Emmy Award nomination.

According to media in Japan, Yoko passed away on Monday (25.07.22) at a hospital in Tokyo after suffering from multiple organ failure due to colon cancer.

Shimada's acting career began in the early 1970s and she appeared in a number of films – including the 1974 police procedural movie 'Castle of Sand'.

The actress was one of a small number of people who had English-speaking roles in 'Shogun' despite not being fluent in the language.

The mini-series was loosely based on the adventures of the English navigator William Adams, who travelled to Japan in the 17th century and rose to the rank of shogun, a military leader.

Yoko played the role of Lady Toda Mariko, who represented the real-life person Hosokawa Gracia, a member of the aristocratic Akechi family.

The actress starred in the 1981 film 'Little Champion' as the marathon runner Michiko 'Miki' Suwa Gorman, who remains the only woman to have won the Boston and New York City marathons twice.

Yoko fell on hard times with alcohol and debt problems during the 1990s and appeared in a nude photobook in 1992 to raise some cash. The book was popular but it damaged her standing as an actress.

Tributes were paid to Shimada on social media, with one user writing: "I just learned that the actress Yoko Shimada, who performed on 'Shogun' as Lady Toda Mariko, has passed away today. She also performed on 'Castle of Sand' and in 'Go Go Kamen Rider'. Very sad news for Japanese cinema and television. All my condolences to her family, friends, and work colleagues."

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