Wasabi Stories vol.261: You Have Only One Life to Live

coffee breakIt has been almost a year since the last story of wasabi stories. Wasabi stories in the past can be found by clicking “category”at the right side bar of the blog if you are interested.


Today’s column is about Ms. Yoshiko Sakuma, a leading Japanese actress. She talks about how she became an actress.

Autumn, 1956.

She was in the last year of her high school and had a vague idea of her future; going to college for a couple of years and then to become a bride.

Around that time, a friend of hers asked Ms. Sakuma to join a sports fest at Toei Movie Studio.

She was not interested in the film industry but anyway went there. She recalled uneasiness she felt once she arrived as those involved with Toei Movie were staring at her.

After the festival, she was given a ride home. Nothing more nothing less on that day. She only felt that she had been to such a strange sports day.

One day, however, she found a shiny black limousine parked in front of her house. She stepped into the house and then saw the Toei executives try to convince her parents to let them have their daughter to make her a Toei star.

Later she found out that the said sports festival was indeed a test and Ms.Sakuma was tested without her knowledge for a selection of a future star.

Her parents were vehemently opposed. And also Ms. Sakuma herself already made up her mind to go to college and had started social study to become a good wife in the future. However, those from Toei kept on visiting them every day despite their refusal. Every time they came, her parents were hostile against them. Ms. Sakuma, looking at their attitude, was somewhat gradually urged to rebel against her parents.


One day, at dusk, Ms. Sakuma went to a shrine to take her mind off her troubles and she asked herself about her future once again.

She then heard a voice from nowhere.


(You have only one life to live. Why don’t you take on a challenge…)


There was no sign of a person there but Ms. Sakuma with certainty heard so. She may have heard things but took it as an acceptable conclusion so she proclaimed her intention to her parents once she was back home.


“I made up my mind. I will try an actress even only for a year.”


Ms. Sakuma did not ask her parents for their permission but simply said that she would.

These are her words;

“This was the very moment when I chose the course of my life on my own and at my own risk. Looking back, this was when I stood at the starting point of an actress, Yoshiko Sakuma”



To make your own decisions to live your life. There may be nothing surprising about this. Looking back my own life, however, I have not had so many moments when I followed my own decisions taking a responsibility.

I joined a basketball club in my junior high. I decided so because my friend did. But deep down I wanted to join a football club .

The first employer I chose was not because I wanted to work for them. I chose them because they seemed to hire me.


How about you? “When was the moment when you made up your mind and took a risk to live your own life?”


By Yoshiko Sakuma (actress), 5th February 2012, the NIKKEI


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