Sunday, October 23, 2016

MEETING MISAKO WATANABE! The Kwaidan Cast Member Recalls Her Acting Career!

Actress Misako Watanabe at a recent event. Photo by Brett Homenick. 

I just returned from a special event with actress Misako Watanabe. Debuting in 1953, Watanabe-san has enjoyed a long, award-winning acting career that extends to this day. During her career, Watanabe-san was primarily an actress at Nikkatsu Studios. Appropriately, one of her films from the studio was screened today, the stylish drama Don't Bet on Human Beings (1964).

I was interested in her mainly because of her role as the second wife in the "Black Hair" segment of Kwaidan (1964), a longtime favorite of mine. She also appears in episode 1 of Tsuburaya Productions' Unbalance (1973) and is featured in Kon Ichikawa's The Devil's Ballad (1977).

I enjoyed dinner with Watanabe-san, who sometimes threw in some English phrases into the conversation, such as, "Let's eat!" She also talked to me about the presidential election. She said that she watched the presidential debates with Japanese subtitles and even quoted (in English) Trump's repeated "Wrong!" interruptions. Suffice it to say, I never thought I'd be discussing presidential politics with a cast member from Kwaidan, but it's certainly one of the most memorable experiences of the year.

Another great evening was had by all. Let's do it again soon!

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