Japanese film star Yoshiko “Shirley” Yamaguchi, who was known as Rikoran, has died of heart failure at age 94 in Tokyo last Sunday, HKEJ reported.
Born to Japanese parents in pre-war Manchuria in 1920, Yamaguchi was adopted by a Chinese friend of her father and was renamed Li Xianglan when she was 13.
Using the new identity, Li made her debut as a Chinese singer and starred in Chinese-language films made by the Japanese-run Manchurian Cinema Association, many of them propaganda movies for the invading Japanese.
“Fragrance of the Night”, one of her best known songs, is still popular among Chinese singers.
Chinese authorities arrested Yamaguchi after World War II and accused her of being a Chinese traitor. But after proving her Japanese origin, she was saved from execution and then allowed to leave China.
After the war, Yamaguchi appeared in two Hollywood films during the 1950s. At home, she starred in Akira Kurosawa’s film “Scandal”, Seijun Suzuki’s “Escape at Dawn” and other movies.
In 1974, She was elected as a member in the House of Councillors, the upper body of Japan’s parliament, and served until 1992.
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