Before she entered the film world, she worked as an editorial assistant at a publishing company, where she oversaw the works of Masuji Ibuse and Hyakken Uchida. After the war, in a burnt-out Tokyo, she felt enlivened and energized by the lack of censorship and freedom of expression that was prevalent.


Through an acquaintance, she got a job as a script supervisor at Daiei’s Kyoto film studio. In her second year, she was blessed with the good fortune of being involved with Kurosawa’s masterpiece. Like Ibuse and Uchida, Kurosawa was fired up with creative energy and a refusal to compromise, so that the set was highly charged with tension. Film was very precious at that time, so with a stopwatch in one hand, she carefully and precisely kept a record of the state of the filming for each cut. She kept a careful eye on continuity, so that there were no differences in the actors’ belongings and clothing in the movies’ scenes, and above all else she would instantly hand over the required film when the director was immersed in editing, and devoted all her attention to the process until it was completed. She moved to Toho with the recommendation of top people from the Kurosawa team, and continued to support the director on numerous classic films.


While there was a break from filming, she produced films to be shown at the Japan World Exposition, Osaka, which led to her joining an advertising production company, where she worked on commercials that featured stars like Kurosawa, Akiyuki Nosaka and Ryuichi Sakamoto.


In time, with epics like Kagemusha and Ran, she gained the trust of foreign investors, and worked on set as the director’s right-hand woman. She was blessed with relationships with a wide variety of talented people, from authors to famous directors from both Japan and abroad. This was a result of her fastidious attention to detail and sincerity. As a woman that compiled a gallant career as an independent professional, she is held in high esteem by those generations that have followed her.


Teruyo Nogami

Born in Tokyo in 1927. Her literary works include “Tokage No Shippo: Totteoki Eiga No Hanashi,” “Tenki Machi” (translated into three languages) and “Kabei” which was an autobiographical novel about her own childhood (and was made into a film by director Yoji Yamada, starring Sayuri Yoshinaga).

Cooperation: Marty Gross and Toho Studio Service.

Translation: Media Research, Inc.


This article originally appeared in “Shinsei” magazine, May 2017 issue, published by RINRI Institute of Ethics. Partially rewritten to update for this internet release.

Spirit and Spine

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