Meiko Kaji  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Meiko Kaji|梶 芽衣子|Kaji Meiko|born March 24, 1947 in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan}} is a Japanese actress and Enka singer.


Life and career

Meiko Kaji first began work in the film industry under the name Masako Ota at Nikkatsu studio in 1965. Beginning in 1970, with little success but extensive experience in the movie business, under the name Meiko Kaji, she was cast in more or less important roles in director Yasuharu Hasebe‎'s Stray Cat Rock series. The films concern juvenile girl gang confrontations and, although inventive, they suffer from poor scripts throughout the series. In 1971 Nikkatsu started moving into the financially lucrative pink film business. To avoid this Kaji moved to Toei where she met director Shunya Ito and made four women in prison films in the Female Prisoner Scorpion series, which made her famous throughout Japan. The films were adapted from a well-known manga by Toru Shinohara. In the fourth installment Toei replaced director Shunya Ito with Yasuharu Hasebe, a decision that Kaji was unhappy about, and she subsequently left the series, which continued until 1998 with six new installments of markedly lesser quality.

In 1973 she took on the role of Yuki in the revenge-themed film Lady Snowblood, which later gained popularity as a cult film in the West. It was based on a manga by Kazuo Koike who also created the Crying Freeman and Lone Wolf and Cub manga series. The film was one of the inspirations for Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill films. It was followed by the sequel, Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance.

Kaji went on to appear in several of Kinji Fukasaku's films, most notably Yakuza Graveyard (1976). In 1978, she starred in a film adaptation of Sonezaki Shinju, for which she earned nominations for Best Actress at five different awards shows, winning four of them. The film had remained unseen by many of her fans, due to the fact that for many years, it had never been released on video or DVD. However, the film was released on Region 2 DVD on June 25, 2008. Kaji's singing career was closely tied to her movie career, and she often sang on the soundtracks of films in which she starred. The theme song to Lady Snowblood, Template:Nihongo, and the theme song of the Sasori series, Template:Nihongo, both sung by Kaji, were used in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Vol. 1. Kaji has been active in television since the 1980s. In 1989 she portrayed Omasa, an informant, in the television jidaigeki Onihei Hankachō (the ShochikuFuji Television version starring kabuki actor Nakamura Kichiemon II).

Select filmography


  • "Hasshû mawari kuwayama jûbei" (2007) TV series (unknown episodes)
  • "Nogaremono orin" (2006) TV series (unknown episodes)
  • "Anata no tonari ni dare ka iru" (2003) TV series .... Shimako Matsumoto (unknown episodes)
  • Kaseifu ha mita! 21 (2003) (TV) .... Mayumi Hirao
  • "Kenkaku Shôbai" (1998) TV series
  • Onihei hankachô (1995) ... aka Onihei's Detective Records (International: English title)
  • "Onihei hankachô" (1989) TV series .... Omasa
  • Aoi sanmyaku '88 (1988) .... Umetaro
  • Tantei Kamizu Kyôsuke no satsujin suiri 8: Izu Shimoda-kaigan ni akai satsui ga hashiru (1988) (TV) .... Shôko Hamano
  • Raku-yo-ju (1986) Woman who comes to the mountain ... aka Tree Without Leaves (International: English title)
  • "Sutaa tanjô" (1985) TV series (unknown episodes)
  • Kaseifu ha mita! 2 (1984) (TV)


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Meiko Kaji" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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