Setsuko Hara (1920 - 2015)

Setsuko Hara, a Japanese actress known best in the United States for her roles in Yasujiro Ozu's films "Late Spring" and "Tokyo Story," has died, according to multiple news sources. She was 95.

The actor died Sept. 5, 2015, of pneumonia, according to the Nikkei, Japan, Asian Review, which attributed the information to her family. The death was not announced until Friday.

Hara had appeared in more than five dozen films before commencing work with Ozu.


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Hara, whose real name was Masae Aida, was born June 17, 1920, in Yokohama, Japan. She got her start in film after one of her sisters married the film director Hisatora Kumagai. Hara went to work for Nikkatsu Studios in Tamagawa, near Tokyo, when she was 15. Her first film was "Do Not Hesitate Young Folks!"

Later on, she portrayed tragic heroines in many of her motion pictures until the end of World War II.

She began working with Ozu in 1949. In "Late Spring," she plays Noriko, a devoted daughter who spurns marriage to care for her father. In 1951's "Early Summer," she played a young woman who found the courage to get married without her family's approval.

In "Tokyo Story," she played the widow of a soldier, her best-known role to U.S. film fans. Her devotion to her dead husband concerns her family members, who urge her to move on with her life and find a new husband.

Hara left the acting business in 1963, the same year Ozu died. She never married; nor did she have any children.

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