Postscript

It's apparent from the number of page views from countries all over the world that there is great and continuing interest in the life-story of Yoshiko Yamaguchi. On this page I will be adding items of interest which are pertinent to her life and historic legacy.
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Manchuria was, is (and will always remain) a land of fascination for the Japanese people
who invested so much sweat and toil, heart-ache and blood
and so many dreams, making this place into their Camelot.
As westerners in their minds-eye hold the legend of Camelot dear to their hearts,
so the Japanese have a similar nostalgia for the place named Manchuria.
Except that in the case of Japan
Manchuria was not just a fairy-tale
in a sky so blue that it hurt your eyes . . .

below is some Japanese soul-music to accompany the many pictures of 'the continent' Manchuria which still give the Japanese pride in their workmanship:


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Shortly after the death of Yoshiko in September 2014, the Japanese magazine dedicated to film named Kinema Junpo published an 18 page retrospective article in their November 2014 issue. We don't have a translation as yet; here is the entire article:

p. 21                                                p. 20

p. 23                                                p. 22

p. 25                                                    p. 24


p. 27                                                p. 26

p. 29                                                p. 28

p. 31                                                p. 30

p. 33                                                p. 32

p. 35                                                p. 34

p. 37                                                p. 36
The following is a translation (courtesy of a friend of this biography) of part of the above 2014 article on Yamaguchi which appeared in the Japanese magazine Kinema Junpo. It has some fascinating details of her later life also. Note that the author, Oono, is apparently a Japanese playwright who interviewed the elderly Yoshiko Yamaguchi:
"In 1950, Yoshiko Yamaguchi visited the US to promote her movie ' Shuubun (Scandal).'
It was only natural for a born cosmopolitan like Yamaguchi to go beyond the limits of Asia.
She changed her name from Li Xiang Lan to 'Shirley Yamaguchi' and appeared in
movies like 'East is East' as well as on stage in Broadway.

She met a nisei sculptor Isamu Noguchi during her stay in the US. They shared the
pain and hardship they experienced during the war, and also the solitude that
existed because they were cosmopolitans. They got engaged and just around then,
they were invited to Charlie Chaplin's home party.

Shirley brought along a small koi nobori ( a streamer in the shape of a carp. May 5
is a national holiday to celebrate the health of boys. From mid-April, families celebrating
the birth of sons hoist koi nobori in their gardens. Carps are known to 'climb' rapid
waters, and people have been regarding them as good signs in wishing the boys
good health.) Chaplin called together his children and began running around the room
so that the carp would 'swim' in the wind. The children clapped their hands and Yoshiko
was surprised to see how very well-informed Chaplin was in things Japanese.

Chaplin had recently completed composing the theme music for 'Limelight'('52).
He began playing the piano to introduce the music to his fellow artists. Noguchi
and other artists, who tend to be critical about everything, did not easily praise the
music. Chaplin countered it is supposed to be played by violin and began playing
the violin. Yoshiko was strongly impressed by his accomplishments and how far a worldwide
figure like Chaplin would go in trying to persuade his guests the excellence of his
music.

Several weeks later, Chaplin's wife invited them to come and see the recording of the
theme music. When they rushed to the studio at 9am, Chaplin himself was at the
podium with his baton. The rehearsal continued but Chaplin was not convinced.
He began giving directions to each performer. When at last they were ready for
recording, it was 5pm. Nobody was looking at the score but the performance was
outstanding. Yoshiko never forgot the words that Chaplin kept repeating. ' There is a
sound where there isn't supposed to be one.'

(When Oono heard this from Yoshiko as she was approaching 90 years of age, she sang the
theme music to herself in lovely soprano.)

Some time later, Shirley cooked sukiyaki at a party at the Eames home in Santa Monica.
Guest of the party, Chaplin decided to thank Yoshiko by dancing Japanese style. He held a
fan and began to dance impromptu. Y was again startled to see him dance well
and also to witness him having trouble in playing the game 'charade' that evening.
She knew intuitively that this genius was a hard worker.

Shirley and Charlie's friendship continued for a long time. In 1961, when Charlie visited
Japan for the fourth time, he called Shirley from the airport. (He also phoned his stock
company. Oono thinks it is rather interesting that his destitute childhood must have
had a strong influence on his financial senses.) Shirley accompanied him to his favorite
tempura restaurant. When edamame was served as an appetizer, Charlie ate the entire
pod. She told him, 'You aren't supposed to eat the shell.' 'What ! I ate the suitcase
and all.' At age 72, his sense of humor was still there.

Their last meeting was in 1963. Yoshiko's husband Hiroshi Otaka was a diplomat in
Geneva. Chaplin was living in Switzerland after being ousted from the US. On their
first Sunday in Geneva, the Otakas decided to make a casual visit to Chaplin's
residence. Without an appointment, they were obliged to wait at the entrance. After a
while, Charlie cried out 'Shirrrrrrley !!!' holding a tennis racket in his hand, and he ran
across his enormous garden like a young man. That was Chaplin at 73.

Yoshiko told Oono, 'The influence I got from Chaplin was not a theory.' 'Chaplin loved the
heart of poor people. It connected with my love for the Palestinian people.' She
recalled the nobility of Palestinian children. No matter how destitute they were, no one
touched her purse. When Oono commented that such nobility is also evident in
Chaplin's films, she heartily answered 'Yes'.

Late in life, Yoshiko kept an AIBO (it's a dog-shaped robot created by Sony) and named it
'Charlie'. She laughed when she called out the name and said 'I do feel him close by'.
As the problems she tried to tackle as her lifelong pursuit, crises in the middle east and
the comfort women issue, are becoming intensified, how we wish we could feel Shirley
to be near us. We shall remember what Shirley inherited from Charlie, and the
cosmopolitan and unrestricted way she sang to us.

Gasshou ( it means pressing one's hands together as in prayer.)"
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These videos contain early clips of Yoshiko singing and many pictures of her which I have not seen in any other summary of her life:
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x28i2yl  (26 minute video)

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x26eozd  (4 minute video)
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On Oct 14, 2014, the Changchun Evening News published an interview with Yamaguchi which had been recorded on Mar 12, 2009: Due to the subject of the article (Yoshiko Kawashima, picture below) one wonders if the Changchun News waited until Oct 2014 to publish it.
Link to article:  (if you have the google translate button installed on chrome, you can instantly get a readable translation): The headline reads "Kawashima disguised as a man, Rainbow Leung was a "little brother":

Yoshiko autographed and dated the picture and gave it to the reporter: the photo below shows Yoshiko and the reporter named Zang Yu:

The article mentions how Yamaguchi felt tearful when she heard the name of her "little brother" (Kawashima) mentioned.

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Early 2015. Another Memorial Service was held in Japan:


Dec 2015. These next videos are [were] quite interesting since they show an interview with Yoshiko's younger sister Seiko (who is 12 years younger, making her about 83 years old this year). The interview was conducted inside Yoshiko's apartment in central Tokyo. And here was Seiko at age 5 in 1937:
I think both videos were made for a two-part TV series since both are about 25 minutes long and cover Yoshiko's whole life history: here's Part 1: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LnOF17p25bE

and Part 2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAjDk78qXIU

(why did they blur-out so many of the photos that we've been so interested to see? it appears this was an amateurish attempt to convey a sense of mystery rather than any photo having a copyright problem).

[Ed. Unfortunately, YouTube removed the above videos due to some kind of copyright problem. However, I did save some photos of Yoshiko's apartment:


The above 2 videos were shown on Japan TV in October 2015:
I have written to Google (who owns YouTube) to try and get the videos back online.

Jan 2016
Here is the Koga Masao Museum of Music in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo:

There is a large display in the museum about Yoshiko (Koga wrote many of her hit songs):

below, the actual 'Test Record' recorded in 1944 and only re-discovered in 2012 (it contained 2 beautiful songs which are included in the CD album "World of Legendary Diva Li Xianglan Yamaguchi Yoshiko" shown on the left-hand side of the picture below:

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Aug 2016:
A friend of the blog sent the below pictures showing Yoshiko's name as it appears in the "Founder's Circle" of SOKA University (located in Aliso Viejo, California):



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October 2016:
A Hong Kong exhibition featuring pictures, memorabilia, vinyl records, tapes, etc, was held in the Wan Chai area:
Thanks to Kit Yu (whose comment appears on the 1952 - 1958 page), we have a link to the 85 page scrapbook which they posted on their website. You can save this pdf file to your computer in case the link goes down in future. The scrapbook contains many striking pictures of Li Xianglan from her 1950's Hong Kong films and earlier which are unavailable on other sites.


an extraordinarily beautiful face which demands that you "study, study very hard . . . and if you want to avoid war, cherish and work for peace"

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