Thursday, April 9, 2009

The China Lover Images IV – Post the Movies

If it was possible Yoshiko Yamaguchi’s life got weirder after her acting career was over. In the early 1960s she became a hostess and anchorwoman on daytime TV talk shows aimed at Japanese housewives. She interviewed a range of people from Kim Il-sung to Zhou En-lai and became involved in the Palestinian cause (meeting Leila Khaled (left), then the pin up girl of the movement) and covered the Vietnam War. She had always wanted to be a journalist and eventually became one.

In 1974, she was elected to the House of Councillors of the Japanese parliament, where she served for 18 years (three terms). She co-authored a book, Ri Koran, Watashi no Hansei (Half My Life as Ri Koran) and became Vice-President of the Asian Women’s Fund.

She did eventually return to China where a musical about her life was staged. In 1992, as part of the 20th anniversary of normalization in Sino-Japanese relations, the musical was staged in China (left) and was, according to the China Daily at least, welcomed by the Chinese audiences.

Fuji Television made a TV movie - Sayonara Ri Kouran –in 1989, as a special project to commemorate their 30th anniversary and a two-part TV movie - Ri Kouran - made about her early life in China in 2006.

As far as I’m aware she’s still alive and living in Tokyo at the grand old age of 89. Here she is pictured left on her 88th birthday looking hale and hearty and getting some house red down her.

The China Lover – A NOVEL

The China Lover Images I - Li Xianglan/Ri Koran The Manchurian Days

The China Lover Images II – The Tokyo Years

The China Lover Images III – The Hollywood Sojourn


paul said...

Li Xianglan's songs are of the highest vocal achievement in the last century, even surpassed those of Zhou Xuan.She is Japan's gift to chinese culture. I am glad there is now an introduction of her in english.As recent as november 2008, even in mainland china, there was a new book published about Li Xianglan's life in china.But the novel goes beyond that and should stimulate more research on Li.

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