Japanese actress Takeuchi Yuko was found dead by her husband, actor Nakabayashi Taiki, in their Tokyo apartment early Sunday morning. Forty years old at the time of her death, she was the mother of two, including an infant boy who was born in January.
While Takeuchi left no note, death by suicide is being presumed. If that is confirmed Takeuchi's demise would follow other recent suicides by well-known Japanese talents, including actress Ashina Sei earlier this month, actor Miura Harumi in July and reality TV star Kimura Hana in May. Takeuchi's official website at talent agency Stardust Promotion has not yet been updated.
Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1980, Takeuchi accumulated a long list of credits in both TV dramas and films, as well as many domestic acting awards.
After making her debut in the 1996 drama "Cyborg," Takeuchi rose to the industry heights with lead roles in the hit 1999 NHK drama "Asuka" and the 2001 TBS drama "Love and Life in the White."
Her film career began with a supporting role in the 1998 J-Horror hit "Ring." Her first starring turn was in the 1998 teen drama "Innocent World."
Over the next two decades Takeuchi was in high demand for TV and film roles, often playing characters on the comically ditzy side, such as the hospital investigator in the 2009 Nakamura Yoshihiro mystery drama "The Triumphant Return of General Rouge." But she was also cast as the razor-sharp sleuth in "Miss Sherlock," a 2018 series co-produced by Hulu and HBO Asia and broadcast in 18 countries around the world.
In 2007 Takeuchi swept local best actress awards for playing a brassy, free-spirted friend and surrogate mom to her married lover's young daughter in Negishi Kichitaro's "Dog In the Sidecar." More recently, she won a Japan Academy best supporting actress prize for her work in the 2014 drama "Cape Nostalgia."
Takeuchi's warm, smiling, woman-of-the-people image also made her popular with advertisers, who used her as the face of many ad campaigns, with Panasonic, Suntory and Shiseido among her better-known clients.
Her most recent film, the caper comedy "The Confidence Man JP: Princess," was released in July.
If you or anyone you know in the U.S. is having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources. In other territories, please call your local suicide hotline.