Masako Natsume
Natsume Masako in Japanese characters

Masako Natsume on the set of Monkey
(Note: I have not obtained copyright clearance to use this photo)

Masako Natsume Masako Natsume Masako Natsume Masako Natsume Masako Natsume Masako Natsume Masako Natsume Masako Natsume Masako Natsume Masako Natsume

 [new] "Oh! Cookie Face" credits and lyrics (including romanised form)!  [new]

In the late 1970s, Masako Natsume recorded a song called "Oh! Cookie Face" that is available to buy from CD Japan on the Ai to Seisyun no Hit Story 1977 CD.

Click on the following 2 pictures to see larger versions of them.

Credits on Ai to Seisyun no Hit Story 1977 CD Lyrics of Oh! Cookie Face sung by Masako Natsume

Many thanks to j.o. for converting the song lyrics from Japanese script (see the 2nd picture above) into romanised characters (romanji) to enable non-Japanese to read / sing the lyrics:

oh! cookie face

watashi mou yakedosihsou
kimiwa cookie face
koino cookie cookie
kuku cookie face

watashi mou maketemoii
watashinisotto tsubuyaita
* bokuno cookie face
koino cookie cookie
kuku cookie face


She was born on 17th December 1957 in Roppongi, Tokyo. Her real name was Masako Odate.

From primary school until junior college, she studied at the Tokyo Jogakukan. While at junior college in 1976, she took part in the selection for the heroine of Nihon TV's AI GA MIEMASU KA? She was chosen from about 4000 girls and acted under her real name (this was her acting debut). That year, she dropped out of junior college. In the summer of 1977, she was chosen as 'Campaign girl' for Kanebo Cosmetics and appeared as the topless "Kooky Face" girl, baring her sunburned skin in public. Needless to say, this gained her great popularity. Around this time, she recorded a song called "Oh! Cookie Face", and it's available to buy from CD Japan on the Ai to Seisyun no Hit Story 1977 CD. Also in 1977, she made her screen debut as a bit player in Toho's ORE NO SORA. She appeared in Toei's TRUCK YARO:OTOKO IPPIKI MOMOTARO (Masaaki Sakai was also in this film) as the hero's inamorata. Afterwards, she continued to perform on TV but in Toei's 1980 film, NIHYAKU SAN KOCHI, she gave a good performance as Teruhiko Aoi's wife. She should be worth watching for her later maturation as an actress.

On TV she has appeared as Tripitaka in Nihon TV's SAIYUKI in 1978; as the Christian, 'Monica', in NHK's OGON NO HIBI and acted with distinguished actor, Sengoro Ichikawa, in Fuji TV's KIBA BUGYO in 1979. She had her first starring role in 1980 in Television Asahi's NIJIKO NO BOKEN. Recent work includes NHK's THE SHOSHA in 1980 and ONNA TAIKOKI in 1981.

In 1980, she made her stage debut in the Tokyo Takarazuka Gekijo in KIKAISHI NAPOREON NO TAISHOKU.

Tragically, Masako Natsume died of leukaemia on 11 September 1985, aged 27, just over 6 years after finishing work on Monkey.

1) The series didn't end because of her illness - she became ill years after she finished work on Monkey
2) She wasn't bald because of the leukaemia - it was a bald head "wig".

She is still a popular actress in Japan, and is idolised by her many fans. Her picture books and calendars are still on sale in Japan, and are very popular.

In June 1997, after a recent television commercial for Canon Inc.'s colour-copy machine featured her photocopy images, the company received about 230,000 applications for 100 free copies of a book featuring photographs of her.

She did a number of movies and especially dramas. She was usually the nicely-bred-shy-young-heroine. The general public didn't think much about her acting talent. Papers criticized them as cheap, or too girlish.

This image changed in her movie "Onimasa" and drama "Shousha". In "Onimasa" she played the daughter of a Yakuza leader. Her dialogue "I'm the daughter of the fearless Onimasa. So DON'T YOU SHIT WITH ME!" became a very popular phrase in Japan that year. In "Shousha" Masako Natsume was a wicked and ambitious woman, like Sharon Stone.

The real Masako Natsume was a passionate woman. Her romance with a certain TV producer ended up in a love triangle with another famous actress. This went on for a while until Masako finally won. They were married for no less than six months when they found out Masako had leukemia. After marriage, her real name was Masako Ijuuin.

This husband, a former TV producer, became a writer. It took him a decade to write about his wife, though. Ten years after Masako's death, he published a novel "Breast" in which showed a heroine that remarkably resembles Masako. "I always seem to be too late in anything" is what he wrote in the forword. He was re-married a few years ago.

In Japan, there is the Masako Natsume Sunflower Foundation. They offer wigs to people who lost their hair due to radiation treatment. In Japan, there is no government support for it.

Apparently, the real Tripitaka who went to India to collect the Buddhist scriptures was said to have been a very good looking monk (don't laugh!) and that his looks were akin to the beauty of a woman (hence female Masako Natsume plays him). After "Monkey" was aired, everyone got the impression that Tripikata has to be played by a (pretty) girl. So Tripitaka is played by one in all the remakes of "Monkey"!

A Japanese fan wrote the following about Masako Natsume:
"I respect Masako Natsume. She is one of the famous actresses in Japan. Because she was very beautiful and her performance was wonderful. She was born in 1957. She died in 1985 from leukemia when I was three years old. She performed various parts. For example "Saiyuki" and "Kiryuin-Hanako no Shougai". She performed in many dramas and movies. Her charms have caused Masako Natsume's boom again. Because she was very beautiful. So she was introduced in the CM of a copy machine and "Odoroki Momonoki in twentieth century", the TV program. She lived hard herself during twenty seven years."

There was a "Forever Masako Natsume" photo exhibition between Thursday 11 September to Wednesday 17 September 2003 on the 7th floor of Tokyu department store in Shibuya, Tokyo (location map). Note: 11 September 2003 was the 18th anniversary of her death.
See the 夏目雅子オフィシャル ホームページ page for more information (read it in English).

Masako Natsume Books

The following photo books of Masako Natsume are available from Japan:

1) Memories of Masako
2) Natsume Masako (Japanese info and cover picture)
3) HIMAWARI, 1957-1985 (Japanese info)
4) Photos of Natsume Masako, flashback (Japanese info and cover picture)
5) Hosihanabi: Star fires-Photos of Natume Masako (Japanese info)

They can be bought online via the "Overseas Bookshop" web site.
To order any of these books, first of all just fill in the book enquiry form on the Overseas Bookshop_Inquiry Sheet page, and they will reply to it with prices and ordering instructions (you don't need to give any card details on this page - it's just the enquiry form). To make your order, you then need to send them a fax.
Just to give you an idea of what the prices are like, the quotation I received from them in July 2002 said that book 1 "Memories of Masako" costs around 11 British pounds, with postage an extra 7 British pounds.
To go to the main page of their web site, go to Overseas Bookshop (English Home) or Overseas Bookshop (Japanese Home).

Also, note that you can order some of these books via in Japan - see the following links:

  • Memories of Masako (
  • Onimasa movie book (
    On each of these pages, click on "Display in English" near the top right of the page, and it will let you place your order in English, paying securely by credit/debit card online.

    Apparently there's a few photos of Masako Natsume as Tripitaka in one of the photo-books dedicated to her - but I don't know which one. If you know, please tell me using the Monkey Feedback page.

    Every year, a Masako Natsume calendar is available in Japan, and in the 2000 one, apparently it contained a few Tripitaka photos. If you know how to order Masako Natsume calendars on the internet, please tell me using the Monkey Feedback page.

    Masako Natsume's final resting place

    In mid-September 1999, I found a very comprehensive Masako Natsume tribute web site (which no longer exists). One of the pages on this site ( looked like it might contain information about where Masako Natsume is buried in Japan.

    Well, thanks to Nikki Brown and several members of the Nippon-Culture mailing list, I've now got complete details of where Masako Natsume is buried (translated by various people from the above web page):

    Masako Natsume's grave is at Dairakuji Temple in Bofu (which can also be spelt Hofu or Houfu) City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in the Chugoku region of Japan (the temple 'Dairakuji' is located in Kuwayama, Bofu-shi, Yamaguchi-ken, Japan). It does not give the specific address except that the temple is at the foot of the hill/mountain called Kuwayama. Her real family name is Nishiyama, and the family name is engraved on her tombstone. You will find the tombstone very easily, if you ask the priest of the temple.

    I am sure the local people would know exactly where once you get to the city. The temple [or Natsume's grave] appears to be a big tourist attraction.

    Yamaguchi prefecture is the west most prefecture in the main island (Honshu) of Japan. Houfu is a city on the Inland Sea or Setonai-kai. The closest Shinkansen station must be Ogouri City. The closest airport is Yamaguchi-Ube Airport and the only major airline using this airport is ANA or All Nippon Airways.

    The photo of the sunflowers on this page is 'Masako's Sunflower garden', I think this is just next to the temple. Someone else said that Dairakuji is a Jodoshu Sect Cemetery.

    Look at the following map of Japan: Japan Travel Updates | Map Yamaguchi City is (obviously) in Yamaguchi prefecture marked on this map, just to the right of Kyushu island (directly North of Fukuoka).

    For a close-up view of Yamaguchi prefecture, indicating where Hofu City is within the prefecture, click on "Yamaguchi" on the above map, and keep clicking for a more detailed map.

    I'm sorry if this topic seems morbid to any of you, but I'm writing it so that, if like me, any of you would like to go and pay your respects to Masako Natsume while in Japan, you now have all full information on where you need to go.

    Here's some other Masako Natsume information I've received recently:

    There is a web site dedicated to the Sunflower Foundation (which was set up in Masako Natsume's memory to help cancer patients in Japan).
    This site contained lots of Masako Natsume pictures, and also had an online shop where you could buy Masako Natsume merchandise.

    Paying my respects to Masako Natsume

    On Friday 1 June 2001, while visiting Japan, I visited Masako Natsume's grave, to pay my respects. I left a single yellow rose, and a short note in Japanese saying about the fans that she has around the world because of Monkey.

    The Dairakuji temple, where she's buried, is a small, beautiful temple in Hofu City, surrounded by mountains.

    I felt very sad while I was there; but I'm glad I went - I just had to go there and pay my respects.

    Other people had left gifts around her gravestone - a glass with the picture of a sunflower on it (a reference to the Masako Natsume Sunflower Foundation), some nail polish, a tin of peaches (could this be a reference to eternal life, as with the peaches in Monkey?), and a box of homemade cookies. It seemed a little strange that someone had left cookies, but I decided to follow their example. I had a cute little box of French biscuits that I'd bought in Paris on my way to Japan, so I left this, with my note attached to it.

    Her TV shows include:

    'The Shousha' (produced by NHK)
    'Tokugawaieyasu' (also NHK)
    'Nonomurabyouinmonogatari' (By TBS)
    'Dauntaunmonogatari' (NHK)

    More TV dramas which starred Masako Natsume

    [This information was sent to me by the webmaster of a Japanese Masako Natsume web site - it was translated into English using translation software.]

    AI-GA-MIEMASUKA ("Can you see love?")
    It is the story which the girl who witnessed a robbery criminal is run over by their car, and become blind. She played a difficult position with initial work, and it was evaluated.

    AKUM-NO-TEMARIUTA ("devil")
    A counting song at hit a ball, and playing. It is one part of a Japanese famous detective story. Murder gets up a thing of a meaning of a text of a song in sequence. She plays a singer coming back in a cursed village.

    OUGON-NO-HIBI ("Platinum age")
    It is a TV saga of NHK inational broadcasting. She played a daughter of a Christian. Her name is Monica.

    Y-NO-HIGEKI ("Tragedy of Y")
    This work turned an in the world famous Ellery Queen's whodunit into a television play for the first time in the world. She plays a daughter of an assistant police inspector.

    An actress was to play a position of the Buddhist priest (Actually, a young man) whom Ms. Masako Natsume played by all means from now on.

    "NIJIKO-NO-BOUKEN" ("Adventure of NIJIKO")
    It is a story of a woman becoming a hostess in order to return borrowing of a younger brother. Ms. Yoshiko Tanaka of a costar is a wife of the oldest brother of Ms. Masako Natsume.

    Her films include:

    [Some of the descriptions below was sent to me by the webmaster of a Japanese Masako Natsume web site - it was translated into English using translation software.]

    1. Ore no Sora (1977) ("My Sky")

    2. Truck Yaro:Otoko Ippiki Momojiro (1977) (not "Momotaro" as I stated previously)
    Momo = "peach", Taro = "eldest son", and Jiro = "second son". This is the sixth in a series of 10 films altogether. Masako Natsume plays the part of the female college student who excelled in kendo. Masaaki Sakai plays the part of a motorcycle policeman.

    3. Nihyakusan 203 Kochi (1980) ("The 203rd high ground")
    It is a story of Russo-Japanese War. Masako Natsume plays a wife of an elementary school teacher with an activist of a political organization.

    4. Masho no Natsu (1981) ("Summer of evil spirit")
    This is the ghost story which is the most famous in Japan. The title is "Yotsuya Kaidan".

    5. Onimasa Kiryuin Hanako no shogai (1982) ("The life of Hanako Kiryuin") / Onimasa (1983) (director: Hideo Gosha) (Toei) (lead actor: Tatsuya Nakadai)
    Masako Natsume plays an adopted daughter of a yakuza. This movie is called her best work. When her movie is introduced, there are many cases that this work is introduced.
    [TV Guide Online - Movie Database]

    6. Dai Nihon Teikoku (1982) ("Great Japanese Empire")
    It is a story of World War II. Masako Natsume plays two characters. A student who is going to become a painter having a lung illness, and a Philippine woman.
    A Japanese fan told me "The other drama 'two persons???', Masako uses her real name^_^". I assume he was taking about this film, but I don't know for sure. If you have any more information about this, please let me know using the Monkey Feedback page.

    7. Future War 198X (1982)
    Masako Natsume voices the character of a woman pilot of an American air force in this cartoon film.
    [Japanese Movie Database]

    8. Jidai-ya no Nyobo (1983) ("A wife of Jidai-ya")
    "Jidai-ya" is a name of a curio shop. Masako Natsume plays two characters. Masako Natsume plays the woman whom wife of a curio shop and she look just like.

    9. Shosetsu Yoshida Gakkou (1983) (Novel "Yoshida school")
    It is a story of the Japanese Prime Minister just after World War II. Masako Natsume plays a daughter of the Prime Minister Shigeru Yoshida.

    10. Nankyoku Monogatari (1983) / Antarctica (1984)
    There was a scene in Kyoto. This is a movie which achieved record box office success.
    [Internet Movie Database] [] [Videoflicks] [E! Online] [TV Guide Online - Movie Database] [Reel]
    Details of the Antarctica soundtrack album can be found on the CD/LD Collection (Index A) web page.

    11. Gyoei no Mure (1983) ("A group of a fish")
    Masako Natsume plays a wife of a fisherman.
    [Internet Movie Database]

    12. Setouchi Shonen Yakyu Dan (1984) ("'Setouchi' boy baseball team") / MacArthur's Children (1986)
    Setouchi is one inland sea between Japanese Honshu and Shikoku. It is a posthumous work movie of Masako Natsume. Masako Natsume plays a teacher of an elementary school of Awaji island just after World War II. It is the impressive movie that it expressed association of a woman teacher and children of Awaji island. [Internet Movie Database] [Videoflicks] [E! Online] [TV Guide Online - Movie Database] [Childhood Visions Movie Club] [Reel]

    1. Antarctica became the second most successful film in Japanese film history, after Steven Spielberg's ET (1982).
    2. Those movies with Videoflicks and Reel links may be bought or rented by following the links.

    Related web sites:

    (If you can tell me what any of the Japanese web pages below mean in English, please contact me using the Monkey Feedback page.)

  • Monkey Desktop Themes - Includes a superb Masako Natsume wallpaper image to use on your computer!
  • Monkey Autographs - Masako Natsume - Masako Natsume autographs.
  • Monkey Meetings - Masako Natsume - Meetings with Masako Natsume, the actress who played Tripitaka in Monkey.
  • Monkey Photos - Masako Natsume - Masako Natsume photo gallery.
  • Masako Natsume [JMDB] - Masako Natsume's timeline on JMDB (in Japanese). You can view an English translation of this page courtesy of's superb English translation service: Masako Natsume's timeline on JMDB (in English)
  • Google Images search results for Masako Natsume - Shows the search results of searching on Google Images for Masako Natsume in Japanese character. Go to the bottom of the page and click on the numbers to go to the next pages of search results. To see the web sites found containing her name in Japanese characters, click on the leftmost tab at the top of the page, beneath the Google logo graphic, to the left of the selected tab for the Image search.
  • Masako Natsume photo book - "Memories of Masako" book, cheaper than the link I already have for this one - this might be a paperback edition? (This can easily be bought in English - just click the "Display in English" link, and add to Shopping Cart as usual)
  • Masako Natsume items on CDJapan - Films and TV shows by Masako Natsume on DVD. Includes her film "Kiryuuin Hanako no Shougai" (known in English as "Onimasa") - the description reads: "Actress Masako Natsume passed away too early at age 27, and here's her signature work". Also, her film "South Pole tale (Nankyoku Monogatari)" (aka "Antarctica"), and also the TV mini-series "The Shousha - Zenshu".
  • Toshiaki Odate - Her younger brother, Toshiaki ODATE, is a professional golfer.
  • Mistral - This page features a man who likes photography and sketching. He went to Kamakura to draw some sketches on May.11.1980. He happened to find a Masako Natsume autograph event in a small park. Of course he ask her to give her autograph to him, because she was already a famous actress at that time. Furthermore he ask he to attach "I LOVE YOU" with it. She was so kind to write it, but after considering a little she attached "It's a joke." with it. :) He won't forget her smile ever...
    Here's Masako Natsume's autograph that she gave him - click on the image to see a larger version of it:
    Masako Natsume's autograph from 11 May 1980
  • A Masako Natsume video - I've no idea which one this is though! (This can easily be bought in English - just click the "Display in English" link, and add to Shopping Cart as usual)
  • Natsume Masako: Videos ( - Lots of Masako Natsume DVDs can be ordered from here.
  • masakoPg00a - Lots of Masako Natsume photos.
  • 。ヨイニフワイサメ・ヌ・ク・ソ・シフソソスク。ラ、・タ・ヲ・・。シ・ノ - A Masako Natsume book for sale.
  • The sunflower of Masako Natsume "summer" (in English) - A digital photograph book of Masako Natsume?
  • Forever MASAKO - Japanese web site with some great photos.
  • - Short biography of Masako Natsume, in Japanese.
  • Masako Natsume Online Photo Album - Buy an online Masako Natsume photo album from here! (web page in Japanese)
  • Masako Natsume - Features a biography and filmography, all in Japanese.
  • To Masako Natsume - Features a tribute to Masako Natsume, all in Japanese.
  • Masako Natsume - Pictures from a 1997 Masako Natsume calendar. Follow the (Japanese) links on this page for more pictures. This picture is a very funny photo of Masako Natsume!
  • Filmography for Masako Natsume [Internet Movie Database]

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