Aug. 28 is the fourth anniversary of the passing of a woman who was an icon in both Japan and the United States. Yet her death in 2007 was barely noted in this, her home country, despite her meteoric rise to stardom in America and the fact that she remains the only East Asian to have received an Academy Award for acting.

In the 1940s, the U.S. had emerged muscular and triumphant from World War II, while much of Japan and Europe was left in ruins. Back then, Americans eagerly embraced foreign entertainers to fit the exotic bill of their newly acquired preeminence in the world.

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