Tomi Taira, Japanese actress, Died at 87

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Tomi Taira was born on November 5, 1928, and died on December 6, 2015.

She was a Japanese actress with a long history of performing in Okinawan theatre.

Tomi is chiefly active as an actress, narrator, dialect coach and in other capacities in shows and films taking place in Okinawa and in projects otherwise representing the region, as well as working more directly and officially with the Okinawa Tourist Bureau in promoting the island prefecture.

Acting both on stage and in films for many years, Tomi first notable role in films was that of the title role of Nabbie, the grandmother in the 1999 film “Nabbie no koi.”

Tomi was born on November 5, 1928. At the age of thirteen, after graduating from Ishigaki Elementary School, she joined the “Ōchō Kojirō Ichiza” (“Old Man Kojirō’s Troupe”), where she met her future husband, Susumu Taira.

Years later, in 1956, Tomi joined the troupe “Tokiwa-za” led by Chōshū Makishi.

Taira frequently performs alongside her husband both on stage and in films, and the two are active together in other ventures.

The two founded an Okinawan theatrical troupe, “Shio” (, lit. “The Tide”) in 1971; among his many acting roles, Susumu played Tomi’s chief love interest, Sun Ra, in Nabbie no koi.

Since the release of “Nabbie no koi,” Tomi has narrated and acted in a number of Japanese television dramas, including “Sushi Ōji!” (lit. “Prince [of] Sushi”), along with films such as “Nada Sōsō (film)” and a Japanese version of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, entitled “Manatsu no yo no yume”.

Tomi has received a number of awards over the course of her career, including being named Best Supporting Actress at the 30th Japanese Television Drama Academy Awards for her performance in the 2001 television drama “Churasan,” and receiving the Tokyo Sports Film Award, for which one of the chief judges is Japanese director/screenwriter/actor Takeshi Kitano.

In 1998, Tomi was officially designated by Okinawa Prefecture a Protector of Intangible Cultural Properties, Ryukyuan Song and Drama.

Tomi Taira passed away at age 87 in December 2015.


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