Yoko Shimada has died at the age of 69.
The Japanese actress was best known for her role in the 1980 television series “Shogun,” a performance that earned her a Golden Globe win and an Emmy nomination.
According to Japanese media, Yoko died on Monday (July 25, 2022) in a Tokyo hospital after suffering multiple organ failure due to colon cancer.
Shimada’s acting career began in the early 1970s and she appeared in a number of films, including the 1974 police procedural film “Castle of Sand”.
The actress was among a small number of people who had English-speaking roles in ‘Shogun’ despite not being fluent in the language.
The miniseries was loosely based on the adventures of English navigator William Adams, who traveled to Japan in the 17th century and rose to the rank of shogun, a military leader.
Yoko played the role of Lady Toda Mariko, who portrayed the real person Hosokawa Gracia, a member of the aristocratic Akechi family.
The actress starred in the 1981 film “Little Champion” as marathon runner Michiko “Miki” Suwa Gorman, who remains the only woman to win the Boston and New York marathons twice.
Yoko fell on hard times with alcohol and debt issues in the 1990s and appeared in a nude photobook in 1992 to raise money. The book was popular but it hurt her position as an actress.
Tributes have been paid to Shimada on social media, with one user writing, “Just learned that actress Yoko Shimada, who starred in ‘Shogun’ as Lady Toda Mariko, passed away today. She also starred in ‘Castle of Sand’ and ‘Go Go Kamen Rider’. Very sad news for Japanese film and television. My condolences to his family, friends and co-workers.”