Yuko Takeuchi, Japanese Actress, Dead at 40

Yuko Takeuchi, a Japanese actress known best for her roles in Ringu and Miss Sherlock, has died at the age of 40, according to multiple reports. Deadline reported Takeuchi was found dead at her Tokyo apartment on Sunday morning, while Variety reported the actress' death is being presumed a suicide by local authorities. She is survived by her husband, actor Nakabayashi Taiki, as well as two children, including a baby boy born in January.

"It came all of a sudden, and we are all stunned and saddened by the news,” Takeuchi's talent agency, Stardust Promotion Inc., said in a statement to The Japan Times. Takeuchi had a rich career in movie and television, making her film debut in the 1996 film Cyborg before going on to star in Japanese shows such as Romance and Pride, as well as Japanese films like Midnight Eagle, Cape Nostalgia and Ringu, the basis for the U.S. horror film, The Ring. She also had a starring role in Hulu and HBO Asia's Miss Sherlock, playing Sara "Sherlock" Shelly Futaba in the show broadcast internationally in 2018. Takeuchi was nominated three times in a row at the Japanese Academy Awards for best actress in a leading role between 2004 and 2007.

Variety reports that in an October issue of Lee, a monthly women’s magazine, Takeuchi said, "Now that I’m in my 40s, I have no desire to look back. Instead it’s as though all kinds of weights have dropped from my shoulders – I feel lighter.” As for spending more time with her family at home during the pandemic, she said, "Having a lot of face time with my family makes me feel that it’s OK to value my own life a little more. In my 40s, I want to enjoy time with my family, while having this axis called work."

Takeuchi reportedly did not leave a note ahead of her death, and has sparked a discussion on mental health in Japan as people reel from her unexpected passing. Comedian Hikari Ota said on a TBS Sunday program when discussing her death, "Everyone has the same worries, be they famous people from the past or great philosophers. Don’t think you’re the only one with worries – spit them out, get help. You’re not alone."

If you or someone you know are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.