Tokuko Takagi

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Tokuko Takagi
Tokuko Takagi Sept 1912 magazine.jpg
Tokuko Nagai

(1891-02-15)February 15, 1891
DiedMarch 30, 1919(1919-03-30) (aged 28)
Kaho District, Fukuoka, Empire of Japan
Other namesTaku Takagi
Occupation(s)Actress, dancer
Years active1911–1919
Spouse(s)Chimpei Takagi

Tokuko Takagi (高木 徳子, Takagi Tokuko, born Tokuko Nagai (永井 徳子, Nagai Tokuko), February 15, 1891 March 30, 1919), also billed as Taku Takagi, was a Japanese dancer and actress in early silent films. She was the first female Japanese performer to appear in a film professionally, appearing in four shorts for the American-based Thanhouser Company between the years 1911 and 1914. After returning to Japan, she was Japan's first dancer to dance in toe shoes.



Tokuko Takagi was born in Misakichō in 1891, the daughter of a banker. In 1906, she married Chimpei Takagi, 24, when she was 15. They both moved to America, where she sang at the Manhattan Opera House in 1910. [1]

She acted in four silent films for the Thanhouser Company: The East and the West (1911), Miss Taku of Tokyo (1912), For the Mikado (1912), and The Birth of the Lotus Blossom (1912). [2] "Acting in motion pictures is such a fun, but it isn't as easy as it looks," she told a reporter in 1912. "They want me to play just like a Japanese girl the American imagines." [3]

Takagi returned to Japan in 1914, due to the outbreak of World War I. In 1915, she had her Japanese domestic dance debut in the Imperial Theatre. While she was on tour in 1919, she suddenly died of a cerebral hemorrhage. [4]

A biography of Takagi by Teruko Yoshitake  [ ja ] was published in Japanese in 1985. [5]

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  1. "Daughter of Japanese Banker is to Act on American Stage". The St. Louis Star and Times. September 17, 1910. p. 9. Retrieved August 19, 2019 via
  2. Cohen, Aaron M. (2014-06-28). "Tokuko Nagai Takagi (1891-1919): Japan's First Actress". Bright Lights Film Journal. Retrieved 2019-08-19.
  3. "N. Y. World Interviews Jap Actress". Moving Picture World. 13: 1286. September 28, 1912.
  4. Nollen, Scott Allen (2019-03-14). Takashi Shimura: Chameleon of Japanese Cinema. McFarland. p. 14. ISBN   9781476635699.
  5. Bowers, David. "TAKAGI, Taku". Thanhouser Biographies. Retrieved 2019-08-19.