Kikuko Ireton, who co-founded “Movie/TV Marketing,” a pioneering English-language trade journal about the domestic film industry, died in Tokyo on Thursday from complications of pneumonia.
Born on May 22, 1929, she was the second daughter of Shoichiro Kobayashi, a bank executive, and his wife, Fumiko.
She married Glenn Ireton, who came to Japan in 1951 and was working for the Civil Information and Education Section of the Supreme Command of Allied Powers, which governed Japan during the period of Allied Occupation from 1945 to 1952.
In 1953, the couple started “Far East Film News,” an English-language trade paper covering the regional motion picture business. Later known as “Movie/TV Marketing,” the journal continued to be published for half a century.
The Iretons were pioneers in presenting news about the Japanese film industry to the world in English. They were also instrumental in introducing Japanese films at major international festivals, including Cannes, Berlin and Venice, in collaboration with such leading film industry executives as Shiro Kido of the Shochiku studio, Ichizo Kobayashi of Toho, Masaichi Nagata of Daiei and Shigeru Okada of Toei.
They also hosted executives from Hollywood studios on their visits to Japan, such as Paramount Pictures President George Weltner and Universal Pictures Executive Vice President Al Daff. Both foresaw in the early 1950s that Japan would become the biggest market in Asia for Hollywood films.
In her later years, Ireton continued to consult for the Japanese motion picture industry. She was in the process of filing what was to be her final report on Wednesday, when she felt ill and was admitted to a Tokyo hospital. She died the following day at age 87.
She is survived by her son William, a former president of Warner Entertainment Japan who now heads his own production company, Ireton Entertainment Inc., and her daughter Asia, who is general manager of The History Channel Japan.
A wake for Ireton will be held on Jan. 30 at 6 p.m. at the Franciscan Chapel Center in Roppongi. Her funeral will be held on Jan. 31 at 11 a.m. at the same location.