Yoshiko Yamaguchi, former film star known as Li Xianglan, dies at 94


TOKYO — Yoshiko Yamaguchi, a China-born Japanese singer and actress who won fame in China, Hong Kong and the United States as well as Japan before becoming a House of Councillors member, died of heart failure on Sept. 7, her office said Sept. 14. She was 94.

Born in Manchuria in northeast China in 1920, Yamaguchi made her debut under the name of Li Xianglan, hiding her Japanese nationality, and appeared in several films including “China Nights” (Shina No Yoru), winning popularity both in China and Japan.

After Japan’s surrender in World War II, Yamaguchi, whose real name was Yoshiko Otaka, moved to Japan and continued her career as an actress and singer, also appearing in several Hollywood movies, known as Shirley Yamaguchi.

She was elected to the upper house in 1974, serving until 1992.

While in the Diet, she devoted herself to such issues as Japan’s military brothels during World War II.

She was married to noted Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, who she divorced.

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