Yoko Shimada is an Actress by Heart Until her Last Days! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Yoko Shimada is an Actress by Heart Until her Last Days!

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This is a shot taken at a preliminary inspection of a theater for a reading play “Galashiya” scheduled to be performed in Tsukuba City. In the back row, Mr. Ono is on the left and Mr. Okubo is next to him. Next to Ms. Shimada is Mr. Kodaira, a member of the stage crew.

Ms. Yoko Shimada (69 years old) passed away on July 25 from multiple organ failure due to colon cancer.

Compared to her brilliant achievements as an actress, the news surrounding her final days was dark and sad.

Too far from the truth!

Two men revealed this to us.

Since 1977, when they co-starred in “Oh Lark! “(TBS), the actor and director Shinya Ono, 73, with whom I had been in contact for nearly half a century. The other is Chiyoda Yu Okubo, 60, an actor who became so close to Ms. Shimada that he asked her to help him move to a new house after performing with her in “Galashiya,” a recitation play directed by Mr. Ono.

They say, “She was so popular that she was not only lonely in her final days, but was even the victim of a stalker. What does this mean?”

She was being stalked by Mr.A, the director of the drama in which she appeared, who was using her unpaid fees as an excuse to send her insistent messages such as, “I want to settle my account and see Yoko-san as soon as possible, I still have the screen shot. ‘I’m going to xxx (Shimada-san’s favorite restaurant) next time, even if it’s just by chance. I would be happy to meet you even by chance.” If she didn’t read the message, he would say, ‘I love you,’ or ‘I can’t do it with another woman. I don’t want to do it,’ escalating to ‘I don’t want to do it anymore!’ He was even talking to the police about it.”

After her death, there were reports that her body was left unclaimed, but Mr. Ono shook his head quietly.

“We couldn’t get in touch with the bereaved family right away, and they just decided to leave the body at a storage facility in Shibuya Ward for a little while. After that, we were able to get in touch with them and she was cremated, and now she is next to the remains of her mother, whom she loved very much. After Yoko’s death, various people came forward claiming to be her contact person or manager, and information was mixed up. There was even misinformation that a farewell ceremony was held on July 27. As far as I know, none of the people who talked about Yoko’s final days in the media were with her at the time of her death and took care of her.”

There were also reports that Ms. Shimada was in need of money to buy canned juice, but Mr. Okubo categorically denies this, saying, “I just clipped a scene where she happened to have no change in her wallet. In fact, Shimada was busy right up to the time of her death, Mr. Ono says, as he was eagerly meeting with people from various industries for a movie he planned to produce.

“She was simultaneously working on a documentary film about Che Guevara, a hero of Yoko’s whom she admired, and a stage project at a small theater. She also kept her illness a secret from us until the very last minute.”

Mr. Okubo continues.

“Shimada’s throat was not in good condition, probably due to the effects of the cancer, and she seemed to have difficulty breathing. But when she appeared on stage, she changed completely. She became Hosokawa Garashiya herself. Her co-stars, who saw her awesomeness up close, even cried on stage. Now My troupe’s performance in January 2022 was to be her last. It was a play with an underground worldview to be performed in a small theater, but when I made a no-brainer offer, Shimada said, “Okay.” I repeatedly asked her, “Are you sure? I asked her again and again. It was the happiest moment of my life.”

When she was away from acting, she was friendly who likes to show up at small bars with only a counter and drink rum. When asked about her love affair with Yuya Uchida, she would share a funny story: “When I was going to Hawaii, I was kicked from behind at the airport immigration, and when I turned around, I saw Mr. Kirin Kiki. She was really a cool lady,” Ono said.

Not only was she active throughout her life, but Shimada continued to run energetically until the moment her life was about to end. That was the true end of her life as witnessed by her fellow actors.

A quick snapshot to commemorate the first day of the Tokyo performance of the recitation play “Galashiya” (last November). To Ms. Shimada’s left is actor Miki Kobayashi, 52, and to her right is actress Midori Suiren, 34.
The hospital room at the Hiroo Red Cross Hospital where Shimada spent her final days. She avoided hospitalization as much as possible, saying, If the doctor stops me and I can’t leave, I’ll be in trouble.

From the September 9, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

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