Setsuko Hara is one of the most famous actresses from the golden age of Japanese cinema. Although she worked with many of Japan’s notable directors including Akira Kurosawa, Tadashi Imai, and Mikio Naruse, she is perhaps best know for her many roles in the movies of Yasujiro Ozu, who shot many of his films in Kamakura (Ozu’s grave can be found in Engakuji in Kita Kamakura).
Ozu created a trilogy of films where Hara played completey different characters named Noriko, and these roles epitomized the grace and compassion of the post-war Japanese woman. Her natural beauty and soft smile won her many fans, establishing her as a cinema icon. The Japanese media gave her the epithet ‘The Eternal Virgin’, as she never married, and withdrew herself from cinema in 1963, the same year that Ozu passed away.
She continued to live a secluded life in Kamakura, until she passed away at the age of 95 on September 5, 2015.