Sayuri Yoshinaga is the last star of Japan’s postwar studio era to still be a box-office force. Playing a pure-hearted teen in films for Nikkatsu in the 1960s, she attracted a huge, mainly male, following known as “Sayurists.”
Now 73 and appearing in her 120th film, “Sakura Guardian in the North,” the ageless Yoshinaga shows no sign of slowing down. In this third installment of her “North” trilogy of films set in Hokkaido — the other two are “A Chorus of Angels” (2012) and “Year One in the North” (2005) — she wades into a frigid sea and hauls herself by rope up a long flight of stone steps to a mountaintop shrine. In other words, she’s as doughty and disciplined as ever.
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