Saturday, March 18, 2023

An Evening with a Nikkatsu Legend!

Setsuko Ogawa. Photo by Brett Homenick.

Tonight (Saturday, March 18), I had the privilege of spending the evening with former Nikkatsu actress Setsuko Ogawa. Honestly, I'm not that familiar with her acting work, but she appeared in a couple of works that are quite interesting, so I was intrigued to meet her.

Ogawa-san was born on March 21, 1951, and began her acting career in 1971 at Nikkatsu. After getting married, she quit acting in 1975 but has since joined a talent agency and has started to pursue acting once again. 

She mostly appeared in the racier Nikkatsu movies of the era. One such title is Hellish Love (a.k.a. Erotic Bride from Hell, 1972) in which she plays the ghostly titular character Otsuyu. She also appears in the Toho jidai geki Slaughter in the Snow (1973), as well as the Lone Wolf and Cub (1973-76) TV series as Sayaka Idebuchi.

I arrived late to the event due to my work schedule. Ogawa-san was surprised to see an American at the event and gave me a brief greeting in English. A bit later on, she asked me why I was there, to which I replied that I'm a fan of Hellish Love. I also admitted that I'm not nearly as familiar with Nikkatsu's '70s output as others at the event. 

I found Ogawa-san extremely friendly and charming. Some actresses can be a bit snooty, but Ogawa-san wasn't that way at all. She seemed genuinely interested in me and asked me a bit about myself. I certainly appreciated that. As luck would have it, the Laputa Asagaya will be screening some of Ogawa-san's films starting next month. One of her fans gave me a flier for the film program, and Ogawa-san graciously signed it for me. One of the movies screened will be Hellish Love, which I hope to see there.

I got to ask Ogawa-san a few questions about her career, especially about Hellish Love. She said it took about a month to film the movie. I asked her how she felt about doing her love scenes, and she said she hated doing them. (I can see why she quit acting as soon as she did!) I pointed out the movie Legend of the Sex Thief in Edo (1973), in which she stars, will be playing at the Laputa Asagaya, but she told me she didn't remember it, reminding me that it was a long time ago. I would imagine those kinds of movies start to blend together after a while.

And there you have it! I really didn't know what to expect when I arrived, but I was pleased to find that Ogawa-san was a friendly guest who was well worth meeting, even if I wasn't all that familiar with her filmography. I certainly hope to meet her again in the near future!

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