After mentioning Chieko Shiratori was a personal favorite of all who've stepped into the role of Special Undercover Agent Rei, the heroine from the Zero Woman series (featured here), there were a few readers who told me they also shared those feelings, which made it clear that she deserved a solo feature. Not having heard or seen anything from Chieko since her mid-to-late 90s heyday, I did a bit of research to see what the now-35-year-old actress/model, who was billed early in her career as "Tieko Shiroto," is up to these days.
Chieko is currently listed with a Japanese talent agency, with a photo that looks like it was taken within the last few years, but her inclusion on their roster is most likely just to boost their status. According to her Japanese Wikipedia entry and one other source, the 5'6" 34-23-35 former "V Cinema" queen retired from show biz in early 2000 and is now living a domestic life with a husband and son.
Sounds likely but until that's reliably confirmed or unless she one day (hopefully) makes a comeback, I'm afraid Chieko will continue to reside in the "Whatever Happened to..?" file and in our memories. So, the following is a little trip down memory lane.
Appearing as the ad campaign girl for Suntory Super Hop’s beer was one
of Chieko's earliest modeling gigs.
|Still from her best-known film, Tokyo Blue: Case 1. The film co-starred|
Tomomi Kuribayashi, who also has quite a fanbase.
The covers of two of Chieko's most popular photo books; Don't Panic (1998) and
Sirene (released in 2002). Both are available outside of Japan, but not cheaply.
|One of Chieko's most striking features was her unique aquiline profile.|
It's clear to see why she was one of Japan's most popular nude models during the 1990s.
Gracing the cover of the August 6, 2002 issue of Weekly Playboy. The shot is from the
Sirene photo shoot and was probably taken in 1999 or 2000, near the end of her career.
1998 appearance Cheiko made on a TV show that featured V Cinema actresses. The first time I watched this was the first time I heard her real voice, which is quite unlike the deeper-pitched timbres of the voice-over actresses who were chosen to speak her lines for the English-dubbed versions of her movies.