Info wanted on Yoshiaki Hanayagi.
March 28, 2013 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Yoshiaki Hanayagi was one of the stars of a famous movie, Mizoguchi's Sansho the Bailiff, and yet there does not appear to be any further information about him online. I have found his name in Japanese, 花柳喜章, but googling that gets even fewer hits (I don't know Japanese, but if I saw what looked like a substantial webpage on him I was prepared to try Google Translate). Does anybody know anything about him, even birth/death dates?
posted by languagehat to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tons of Japanese results, but the challenge with searching using Chinese characters (花柳喜章) is that it comes up with page after bloody page of Chinese-language results.

Japanese folks solve this problem on Google by inserting Hiragana after the search term, in order to get (mostly) Japanese results. So, I searched for


And got these results.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:35 PM on March 28, 2013

There's a blurb on this page about halfway down (in Japanese).

I guess that there may not be much information available because he was primarily a stage actor rather than a movie actor?

Born Jan. 22, 1923. Real name was Aoyama (surname) -- the first name could be read a couple of different ways, but I would guess Masaru. His stage name came from combining the 喜 from his father's teacher Kitamura Ryokurou 喜多村緑郎 and the 章 from his father's name Shoutarou 章太郎. He made his debut in 1933 as Botan in Kyouenroku (侠艶録). He didn't have a blazing talent, but did have a steady character and a dynamism supported by a strong passion for the theater. He also acted as a coach in the "Seinen no Kai" -- Young Man's Association?

Because of his awkwardness as an actor, his performances were very carefully calculated.

In 1978, he collapsed on the opening day of the Shinbachi [in Tokyo] theater, and died three days later at the age of 54, never having regained consciousness.
posted by Jeanne at 12:42 PM on March 28, 2013

That should be Shinbashi theater.
posted by Jeanne at 6:59 PM on March 28, 2013

Wow, thanks a lot, Jeanne—that's terrific!
posted by languagehat at 1:14 PM on March 29, 2013

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