Former Candies member Yoshiko Tanaka dies of breast cancer at 55

TOKYO — Yoshiko Tanaka, a former member of the 1970s female pop trio the Candies, died Thursday of breast cancer at a Tokyo hospital, her husband said. She was 55.

Tanaka, whose real name was Yoshiko Odate, was diagnosed with breast cancer in her late 30s and underwent surgical treatment, but the disease repeatedly returned, said Kazuo Odate, her businessman husband, who held a press conference at the hospital.

Tanaka was hospitalized last fall after falling ill. She was then temporarily discharged but was hospitalized again in February, Odate said, adding that her condition rapidly changed Thursday morning.

‘‘She used to say she wants to continue acting. She loved her work,’’ the 56-year-old said.

‘‘She was always positive and was actively committing herself to cancer treatment with a sense of pride and responsibility for her work,’’ said Odate, the elder brother of actress Masako Natsume (1957-1985).

The Candies were extremely popular among young Japanese men. The group consisted of Ran Ito, called Ran, Miki Fujimura, called Miki, and Tanaka, called Sue.

The trio debuted in 1973 and went on to release a series of hit songs, including ‘‘Toshishita no Otokonoko’’ (Younger Boy), to become an idol group symbolic of the era.

The group dissolved in 1978 at the height of its popularity. The trio’s farewell concert at Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall in April that year drew about 50,000 fans.

Tanaka returned to show business in 1980 and became an actress. She won the Japan Academy’s best actress award for her leading role in the movie ‘‘Kuroi Ame’’ (Black Rain) directed by Shohei Imamura.

Tanaka, who was credited with strong acting skills, was particularly known for her portrayal of strong-willed heroines and kind mothers. She also appeared in such movies as ‘‘Himeyuri no To’’ (Eternal Monument) and ‘‘Asu e no Yuigon’’ (Best Wishes for Tomorrow), and in TV dramas including ‘‘Ie Naki Ko’’ and ‘‘Churasan.’‘

Tanaka also served as a steering committee member for the Japan Stop AIDS Fund.

Referring to her condition quickly deteriorating following her hospitalization in February, Odate said, ‘‘I was convinced she would pull through no matter what, but I think she herself was prepared (for the worst).’‘

Odate, who had been staying in the hospital, said Tanaka did not respond when he said good morning to her on Thursday. ‘‘I believe she was not in pain in the final moment.’‘

Asked what kind of wife Tanaka was, Odate grew teary and said, ‘‘She was the best. I want to tell her ‘thank you.’ I wish I could cure her.’‘

Actress Tomi Taira, who co-starred with Tanaka in ‘‘Churasan,’’ recalled she worked with Tanaka like she would with her own family member and was still feeling the same way.

‘‘She was dedicated to her work and was an earnest person,’’ Taira said of Tanaka.

Another actress, Yumi Adachi, who co-starred with Tanaka in ‘‘Ie Naki Ko,’’ said Tanaka was a warm person and was ‘‘like a real mother who brought her warmth to all those who worked with her at location sites.’‘

‘‘I still cannot believe the news. I would like to thank her as I pray for her soul,’’ Adachi said.

Source: Japan Today

- Justin -

About the ""

Justin Vawter Greco Buenagua *

An architecture student. A fashion and design blogger. Total sucker for S.H.E.! Wishes to be married to Ella Chen someday (sorry Richard!) I created this blog just to share everything I love about C-Pop. Who would have thought this would become like this? Thank you for reading! Keep the love for Asian music alive! :)
Facebook | Twitter | Blog

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! Spread the love for Asian Music!

- Justin -

Copyright © 2013 Taiwan Pop