Via CriterionCast comes news of the passing of Japanese actress Noriko Sengoku on December 27. She was 90. Her career began in community theater in Shinjuku, Tokyo before she signed with Toho in 1947. She’s best known abroad for her work with Akira Kurosawa in films such as Drunken Angel (1948), Stray Dog (1949), The Quiet Duel (1949), Scandal (1950), The Idiot (1951) and Seven Samurai (1954). She also appeared in Masaki Kobayashi’s Kwaidan (1964), Yasuzô Masumura’s Blind Beast (1969), Takehiro Nakajima’s Okoge (1992), and in Japanese television series on through 2004.
Reviewing The Quiet Duel in 2010, Andrez Bergen wrote that “the real revelation here is Noriko Sengoku, the atypical Japanese actress in the prominent supporting role as apprentice nurse Minegishi. While her earlier role for Kurosawa in Drunken Angel was a pivotal one it was also brief; here she has much more room to move and develops through the movie—from a self-destructive, selfish single mother early on into the feisty, dedicated, supportive head nurse at the conclusion. Along the way, Sengoku more than holds her own in the company of [Toshiro] Mifune and [Takashi] Shimura.”