Akemi Negishi

1934 - 2008

Akemi Negishi might never have become an actress but for Josef von Sternberg. The legendary director was in Japan looking for a woman to play the seductress who leads a bunch of soldiers astray in his upcoming (and as it turned out, last) movie _Anatahan (1954)_. But Sternberg spotted Negishi one night, dancing on the cabaret stage, and chose her at once. This was the first in a long string of exotic roles, most unusual for the average Japanese actress, but which became her trademark, in films as various as _Kingukongu tai Gojira (1962)_ and Dodes'ka-den (1970). She was a favorite actress of both Akira Kurosawa and Ishirô Honda, both directors seeing beyond the kind of role in which she was usually typecast, and thereby encouraging her to some of the best work any Japanese actress did in the 1950s and 1960s. Her most memorable roles are probably for Kurosawa, in The Lower Depths (1957) and Dodes'ka-den (1970); but she is probably best known outside Japan for playing the woman who leads

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