Nobuko Miyamoto

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As an established veteran of Japanese cinema, actress Nobuko Miyamoto was most active in the film industry throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She was born on March 27, 1945, in Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan, and as an adult stands at almost 5’2” tall.

Miyamoto is also well-known as the wife of the late Juzo Itami, often considered in Japanese media circles as a quirky Japanese film director, whom she married in 1969. She starred or appeared in the majority of her husband’s movies. Itami and Miyamoto made headlines after he allegedly committed suicide in December 1997 after a major magazine made claims he was involved in an affair.

Although the famed actress is most known for her work and performances throughout much of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Miyamoto made her first appearance on film back in 1966 in the movie Honnou. This was followed up by appearances in the films Sukurappu shûdan (1968) and Otoko wa tsurai yo: Junjo hen (1971), after which Miyamoto took an acting hiatus for a full decade before taking the role of lawyer Yoshiko Honda in the T.V. series Kita no kuni kara in 1981, which was considered by many as her breakthrough role, and even her “debut” performance. In 1984, Miyamoto accepted both a supporting role in the film Tokimeki ni shisu and a lead role as Chizuko Amamiya in Osohiki.

Most of Miyamoto’s starring roles were in her husband’s films. After starring in Juzo Itami’s Tampopo as the title character—one of her more better-known roles—in 1985, Miyamoto went on to star as tax inspector Ryoko Itakura in Marusa no onna (A Taxing Woman) in 1987 and its follow-up, Marusa no onna II (A Taking Woman II) a year later. Her performance was critically acclaimed, particularly in the first film, and earned her a coveted Best Actress Japanese Academy Award.

Into the 1990s, Miyamoto went on to take lead roles in films such as A-ge-man (1990) as Nayoko; the well-received Minbo no onna (1992) as Mahiru Inoue—another of her more notable, praised, and popular roles; Daibyonin (1993) as Buhei’s (played by Rentaro Mikuni) wife; Shizukana seikatsu (1995); Supah no onna (1996) as the lead role Hanako; Marutai no onna (1997), and Rajio no jikan, also in 1997.

After 1997, many may have thought or assumed her 16-year run on Japanese T.V. and film was over, as she did drop out of the scene again for a long time. However, after her second decade-long acting hiatus, Miyamoto is back with her most recent project, the film Bizan (2007), with a starring role as Ryuko Kouno, alongside fellow actors Nanako Matsushima and Takao Osawa.

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