Howl's Moving Castle Voice Actress Haruko Kato Passes Away
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Japanese film, television, stage, and anime actress Haruko Kato passed away on Monday. She was 92.
Kato is known for her roles in stage plays, as well as live-action television dramas such as the 1964 Shichinin no Mago series, and the 1974 Terauchi Kantarō Ikka series. In anime, she is perhaps best known as the voice of Madam Suliman in Hayao Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle anime film. She also voiced the Madame in Miyazaki's Kiki's Delivery Service film in 1989. She also had a minor role as Giny in the 1969 anime film Senya Ichiya Monogatari (One Thousand and One Nights).
Kato was born in Tokyo in 1922. She graduated from Shochiku Shōjo Kageki Gakkō (Shochiku Girl's Theater School), and in 1939, became a film actress at TOHO. She debuted in the 1939 Hanatsuki Nikki film. She often co-starred in films alongside Kenichi Enomoto (Enoken). In 1941, she joined playwright Michi Kato and actor Hiroshi Akutagawa's "Shin Engeki Kenkyūkai" troupe, and married Michi Kato in 1946. She started performing in main roles in Michi Kato's plays in 1949, until he passed away in 1953. She then married actor/producer Masaya Takahashi in 1958, joining his "Kumo" troupe, and acting in plays such as Henry IV and The Trojan Women. Kato and Takahashi divorced in 1973, and she worked as a freelance actress since that time. Her final role was in the Yōji Yamada film Otōto in 2010.
She performed in the Ai Nagai stage play Konnichiwa, Kaa-san (Good Day, Mother) in 2001, for which she earned the individual prize for the Kinokuniya Engeki Shō, as well as the Yomiuri Engeki Daishō. The following year, she was awarded the Order of the Precious Crown, Fourth Merit.