Chikage Awashima: Versatile, adored Japanese actress of stage and

Chikage Awashima was a consummate performer of screen and stage in the post-war era, continuing up to the present. She had a strong, affectionate relationship with her public in Japan, particularly with regard her comedy performances, but she was remembered in the West for a few serious roles. The writer Donald Richie found "all of her characterisations, even the most superficially written, both believable and moving."

Exodus: It's women and children first on the trains out of Tokyo

On a weekday afternoon the bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka is normally full of dark-suited businessmen, the in-carriage sound a mix of tapping laptop keys and the outside air rushing by at 300km per hour. But last Friday, the men appeared to have been elbowed aside by a small army of harried housewives ferrying infants and children, their cries and horse-play turning the train into a speeding kindergarten.

Kluft views narrow escape in long jump as 'big victory'

Four years ago she was the home golden girl of the last European Championships; yesterday she avoided a qualifying-round exit by the tightest of margins. Back in 2006 Carolina Kluft was still an invincible force in the heptathlon. No one could come close to the Swede in the seven-event competition at the Ullevi Stadium in Gothenburg. She retained her continental title by a margin of 317 points, setting a championship record of 6,740 points.

Williams finally loses... after 151 races

It was as inevitable as death, taxes and the endless loop of Frasier repeats. For five years and 151 races, Jodie Williams had been unbeatable, tearing up age-group records, pocketing a sprint double at the World Youth Championships last summer, and taking the world junior 100m title in her stride in midweek.

Sayonara, Mr Blue Sky: In search of the

His Paris grave bears only his Buddhist death-name... An intrigued Charles Darwent goes in search of the kamikaze-pilot-turned-abstract-artist Kenji Yoshida

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