Akiko Wakabayashi Biography
Akiko Wakabayashi (born December 13, 1939 in Ōta, Tokyo) is a Japanese actress, best known in English-speaking countries for her role as Bond girl, Aki in the 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice. Prior to this, she made many movies in her native Japan, especially Toho Studio's monster movies such as Dagora, the Space Monster and Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (both of which were also released under various other titles).
When production of You Only Live Twice began, Wakabayashi was originally slated to play the role of Kissy Suzuki whilst her co-star Mie Hama played Suki, one of Tiger Tanaka's top agents. When learning English proved to be a major hurdle to Hama, the women switched roles, with Hama now playing the smaller part of Kissy and Wakabayashi playing the larger part of Suki.
Wakabayashi, as Aki in the movie You Only Live Twice. At her suggestion, the character of Suki was renamed to Aki. This is probably partly because in 1966, Woody Allen took the Japanese action film International Secret Police: Key of Keys (in which both Mie Hama and Wakabayashi starred), re-edited, re-dubbed, re-plotted, and renamed it What's Up, Tiger Lily?.
In the film, Wakabayashi's character was "Suki Yaki" whereas her You Only Live Twice co-star Hama played "Teri Yaki". Wakabayashi made only one more film (and a guest TV appearance) before disappearing from both the big and small screen. In an interview in G-FAN magazine (No. 76), Wakabayashi said she retired from acting due to injuries sustained while making a movie.
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