"Like the great Hollywood stars, Tanaka rarely appears to be acting. But instead of presenting a fixed screen persona, she makes each of the disparate characters she embodies appear to be her natural self… she changes from film to film, and within films, ranging over the manifold possibilities that humans can choose or be chosen by. As a director she extends that range to the film as a whole, embracing eeriness and earthiness, ugliness and beauty, irony and passion. She is a variable star, now radiant, now somber, now (as she directs) invisible…"
"Tanaka can be called either the first or the second woman ever to direct movies in Japan… When Tanaka revealed her interest in directing, Mizoguchi—having worked with her on so many films sympathetic to women—opposed the move. Was he a sexist in feminist disguise? Apparently he felt that Tanaka, as the best screen actress in Japan, should not risk being less than the best as a director. In any case, other filmmakers were more helpful. Naruse took her on as an assistant director, Kinoshita wrote the script of her first film, Love Letters, and Ozu co-authored her second, The Moon Has Risen.” — Film Comment
November 29, 1909 — March 21, 1977