Oshin scriptwriter Sugako Hashida, 95, dies of lymphoma

One of the most popular scriptwriters in the country, Sugako Hashida died on Sunday (April 4) at her home in Atami, Tokyo. PHOTO: MOJA_CYR_508/INSTAGRAM

Acclaimed Japanese scriptwriter Sugako Hashida, best known for the popular 1980s television series Oshin, has died of lymphoma. She was 95.

One of the most popular scriptwriters in the country, she died on Sunday (April 4) at her home in Atami, Tokyo. This was according to actress Pinko Izumi, who appeared in many of the dramas Hashida wrote, including Oshin. Hashida had been treated for lymphoma since earlier this year.

She was born in Korea in 1925 during the Japanese colonisation of the Korean Peninsula. In the late 1930s, she moved to Japan, where she grew up in Osaka.

She joined Shochiku film studio in 1949 but later became a freelance scriptwriter for TV dramas, including the widely popular morning drama series Oshin, which was broadcast from 1983 to 1984 on NHK public television.

The fictionalised drama, which went on to become an international hit, was based on the biography of the Japanese woman who co-founded supermarket chain Yaohan. It detailed her multiple hardships from her childhood until her final days in the 1980s.

Hashida's other popular dramas include the long-running series Making It Through, a family drama which started in 1990 and aired more than 500 episodes.

Actress Izumi, who was in both Oshin and Making It Through, said she was at Hashida's bedside when she died.

"I said to her 'mama', then she briefly opened her eyes, then it was as if she went back to sleep," Izumi said in an interview with Japanese media outlets.

Hashida, who received the Japan Order of Culture last year (2020), had written a controversial book in favour of euthanasia in 2017. According to her wishes, there will be no funeral.

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