Yumi Shirakawa poses with a fan at gathering in Tokyo. Photo by Brett Homenick.
On June 14, Toho actress Yumi Shirakawa died of heart failure at the age of 79. She starred in such Toho classics as Rodan (1956), The Mysterians (1957), The H-Man (1958), The Secret of the Telegian (1960), The Last War (1961), and Gorath (1962). In 1964, she married Nikkatsu star Hideaki Nitani, who would later star in the Tsuburaya Productions TV series Mighty Jack (1968).
Yuriko Hoshi, Yosuke Natsuki, and Yumi Shirakawa pose for pictures. Photo by Brett Homenick.
I had the distinct honor (a word I most certainly don't use lightly) to meet Shirakawa-san at an event in Tokyo in May 2015. It was billed by the organizers as a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I couldn't disagree with that assessment. Stars like Shirakawa-san, Yuriko Hoshi, Yosuke Natsuki, Akira Takarada, Machiko Naka, and others gathered to celebrate Takarada-san's 81st birthday. Thanks to Natsuki-san, I was able to spend quite a bit of time around Shirakawa-san.
I'd always hoped to visit Shirakawa-san again, but I will always cherish the memories of that afternoon when I was able to meet my favorite actress in person. I couldn't have asked for a nicer, warmer person to meet.
Rest in peace, Shirakawa-san.