Mio Ota. Photo by Brett Homenick.
May 1 saw Japan enter the Reiwa era. It was also the day that actress, chanson singer, and artist Mio Ota suddenly passed away at age 70.
Mio Ota was born in Azumino, Nagano, on February 17, 1949. Among genre fans, her best-known credit is Toho's vampire thriller Evil of Dracula (1974) in which she plays student Yukiko Mitamura. She also appeared as Blue Jaguar on the TV series Giant Iron Man 17 (a.k.a. Daitetsujin 17, 1977) from episode 22 through 35. In more recent years, she performed under the stage name Izuhi Higashioka. (Her real name was Chieko Ota.)
I had the distinct privilege of meeting Ms. Ota in June 2018. I got to spend quite a bit of time around her at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno. She signed some Evil of Dracula items for me, and we even had a discussion about (of all things) politics. (She held strong opinions about both American and Japanese political topics.)
She and I had been connected for years prior to that on social media, and I always enjoyed getting a like or a comment from her. Suffice it to say, I'll always remember her kindness.
Rest in peace, Mio Ota.