Actress Masako Izumi listens to a fan's question at Cinema Novencento in Yokohama. Photo by Brett Homenick.
The newly opened Cinema Novencento in Yokohama hosted an event featuring two Nikkatsu Studios stars: Masako Izumi and Mitsuo Hamada. While I got a chance to shake hands and speak briefly with Hamada-san, he left the event before I could photograph him. But that was fine; the real star of the show was Izumi-san.
Aside from being a prolific Nikkatsu Studios actress during the 1960s, she turned her attention to becoming an adventurer in the 1980s, attempting to become the first woman to visit the North Pole on foot and sled in 1985. Unfortunately, she was not able to complete her attempt, and another woman, Ann Bancroft (not the actress with a similar name), became the first in 1986. Undaunted, Izumi-san became only the second woman to travel to the North Pole in 1989.
Izumi-san was completely unprentious and in every way just a regular person. She was full of energy and high spirits. We were able to mix my limited Japanese with her limited English and had some entertaining interactions. I look forward to seeing her again!