Today, the anime industry is mourning the loss of a truly gifted star. Reports from Japan have confirmed that actress Etsuko Ichihara has passed away. She was 82.
According to reports, Ichihara passed away in a Tokyo hospital on January 12. The actress passed away after a lengthy battle with heart failure. Ichihara was also fighting autoimmune myelitis, a condition she was first diagnosed with two years ago.
Reports have confirmed Ichihara's services will be held in Tokyo. At this time, no comment has been released by the actress' family or agency. (via ANN)
For those unfamiliar with Ichihara, the actress has a long resume under her belt. As a screen and voice actress, Ichihara got her start in 1957 with the Haiyuza Theater Company. It was there she grew famous for her stage work, but she transitioned to television in 1983 with her leading role on The Housekeeper Saw.
Most recently, Ichihara gained critical acclaim for her work in Your Name. The film, which Makoto Shinkai directed, cast the actress as Hitoha Miyamizu. Playing the lead heroine's grandmother, Ichihara was praised for her nuanced work as millions took in the film. To date, Your Name is the highest-grossing anime film to date as the title overtook Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away some time ago. Now, the film is being adapted into a live-action film under Hollywood megastar J.J. Abrams while Shinkai prepares to release his next movie, Tenki no Ko: Weathering With You.
Outside of anime, Ichihara enjoyed critical success on a variety of titles. In 1989, the actress won the Japan Academy Prize for Best Supporting Actress thanks to her work on Black Rain. The actress also earned rave reviews for her work in series like Hideyoshi and Manga Nippon Mukashibanashi.