Japanese actor Sei Ashina, perhaps best known to English-speaking audiences for her role in the 2007 historical drama “Silk,” was found dead in her Tokyo apartment on Monday. She was 36.
Ashina started out as a model and landed a regular role on the 2003 TV series “Stand Up!!” according to IMDB. She amassed more than 60 credits and was appearing on two TV shows as of this year.
But Ashina’s central role in the 1860s-set silk-trade drama “Silk” may be her most memorable outside of Japan. She played the part of a warlord’s mistress who beguiles a silkworm-egg smuggler (Michael Pitt) who has left his wife (Keira Knightley) behind in France.
The movie was not a financial success. The Francois Girard-directed period piece had a reported budget of $20 million, but collected just short of $8 million at the global box office.
Ashina’s talent agency praised her kindness and said family members and those who worked with her are struggling with deep sorrow.