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Manuela's MV, MO
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 K. Wakayama
























The Origin of Manuela - the Namesake -

In the pre-WWII days in China, there were a few Japanese women who were well known in society such as Yoshiko Kawashima, the Mata Hari of the East, and Yoshiko Yamaguchi, the actress with the Chinese stage name, Li Huang Lang. With them, there was the mysterious Miss Manuela, a beautiful dancer who was a favorite in the American and European Society in Shanghai, but whose nationality was unknown.

All three women led a glamorous life during the turbulent pre- and post-war days. Miss Manuela was a Japanese dancer who existed in real life.

In January 1999, "Manuela- Woman in Love in Hot Shanghai" was put on at the Parco Theater. Yumi Amami, a top actress from Takarazuka was in the lead role of the Japanese dancer Manuela, who was the star of the Shanghai's Western society.
In June 2001, "Shanghai Rhapsody - The Autobiography of the Legendary Dancer", was published with Ms. Taeko Wada as the author. Born in Korea in 1911, this lady, Taeko Wada is the legendary dancer Manuela herself. After 50-60 years have passed, plays and cinemas of her life story are being made in Hong Kong and elsewhere.
Her story is in "Roosevelt's Assassin" by Masaaki Nishiki (1991, Shinchosha) as well.
This Ms. Taeko Wada came back to Japan after WWII ended, and opened the first post-war nightclub called "Manuela" in Uchisaiwai-cho. This club became famous for its clientele since the top-class elite who represented all aspects of respected society convened here. This also was the starting point to stardom for many post-war Jazz musicians such as George Kawaguchi and Martha Miyake. Ms. Wada is in her 90s' now but is still spry and young. She appeared recently as a guest in "Tetsuko's Room", a popular TV talk show.

It was Mr. Ichiro Inumaru, the former CEO of Imperial Hotel who received the permission to use the name "Manuela" from Ms. Wada. This is how "Little Manuela" was able to open its doors on Hitotsugi-Dori Avenue in Akasaka-Mitsuke. Miss Manuela (Ms. Wada) was a guest at Little Manuela soon after its opening.

So, as you can see, the origin of the name "Manuela" comes from the era when the world was in a touch-and-go situation right before WWII, and has a deep connection with the pre- and post-war history of Jazz in Japan.

Miss Manuela visited Little Manuela on Saturday, July 13, 2002. You can read the details of her visit in the "Miss Manuela Comes" section.


Miss Manuela was introduced on Sunday, September 21, 2003 from 12:30, on channel 4, Nihon TV, in a program introducing youthful nonagenarians and centenarians.

The story of Miss Manuela was aired documentary style in an approximately 30 minute slot.

At the top of this slot, the opening paragraph of this page was introduced. Those who had accessed this web site, and this section noticed this. There were even regulars of Little MANUELA who sent in messages to the effect to the Webmaster.

There are many regulars of Little MANUELA who do not know this site exists, and there are also many who know of the site, but have never taken a look.

For some reason, the busier people are, the more they check these pages. Those with time on their hands rarely take a peep. Strange how some things work. (added on Sept. 21, 2003)