Miyoko Akaza. Photo by Brett Homenick.
Today, I attended a screening of the Nikkatsu's Virgin Blues (1974). I think you can probably guess the theme of the film by its title. Despite not being 35mm, the Blu-ray transfer looked pretty good blown up to fit a movie screen.
One of the film's stars, Miyoko Akaza, was in attendance as a special guest. Born on February 10, 1944, Akaza-san started training to become an actress in 1963. She made her feature film debut in 1967, but it was when she was cast as Otsuyu in the Daiei horror classic The Haunted Lantern (a.k.a. The Bride from Hell, 1968) that she began to receive attention. In the West, her best-known credit would probably be Toho's Lady Snowblood (1973) as Sayo Kashima. (Lady Snowblood was directed by her late husband, Toshiya Fujita.)
I was especially interested in meeting Akaza-san due to her role in The Haunted Lantern, in which she stars opposite Kojiro Hongo, a regular in the Showa Gamera series. I found that she is a big fan of both American and French films, and she shared many stories from her career and even the tennis court! All and all, an intriguing evening, for sure.
Beware the Haunted Lantern!