Tokyo, Nov. 8 (Jiji Press)--Japanese singer Chiyoko Shimakura, known for hit songs including "Jinsei Iroiro" (Life has its ups and downs) and her unaffected personality, died of liver cancer on Friday. She was 75.
Born in Tokyo, Shimakura won a national singing contest organized by major record label Nippon Columbia Co. in 1954.
Under an exclusive contract for the label, she made her debut as a professional singer the following year with "Konoyo no Haya" (Bloom in this world).
Released in 1957, "Tokyo Dayo Okkasan" (Mom, here we are in Tokyo) was a smash hit, with sales of more than one million copies, cementing her place in the entertainment world. She played the lead role in a movie based on the song.
She continued to produce hit songs and appeared in the annual year-end music show of public broadcaster Japan Broadcasting Corp., or NHK, a total of 35 times, including 30 consecutive years.
In 1987, at the age of 49, she released "Jinsei Iroiro," which racked up sales of 1.3 million copies. The tune earned her the best singer's prize in the prestigious Japan Record Award.
Alongside her singing career, Shimakura appeared in television variety shows and also displayed her acting talent on the theater stage as well as in TV dramas and movies.
In her private life, Shimakura made headlines for her battle with breast cancer and heavy debts.
In 1999, she was recognized by the nation with the award of the Medal with Purple Ribbon.END
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