Silk star Sei Ashina dies aged 36 in suspected suicide

Actress Sei Ashina has died aged 36 in a suspected suicide.

The Japanese star, best known for her role in Silk, was found dead at her Tokyo apartment by her brother. 

Ashina’s brother had gone to her apartment after she stopped replying to his calls and texts on September 13. 

The star’s reps HoriPro confirmed the ‘sad and unfortunate’ news of her death, saying: ‘The detailed situation is currently under investigation, but we would like to ask the media to consider the deep sorrow of their families and refrain from interviewing them.

‘We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the kindness of Ashina during her lifetime and pray for the souls of all of you.’

While the agency did not confirm Ashina’s cause of death, Tokyo police confirmed to Japanese media that she died in an apparent suicide.

Born Igarashi Aya, Ashina began her career as a model before moving into acting.

She made her debut in the 2002 series The Tail Of Happiness, before landing her biggest TV role in the superhero series Kamen Rider Hibiki three years later.

In 2007, she beat 800 others to be cast as the Japanese lead in François Girard’s historical drama Silk, in which she starred opposite Keira Knightley and Michael Pitt. 

Ashina played a concubine of a local baron that French silkworm smuggler (Pitt) becomes obsessed with. 

Ashina also starred in TV series including The Emperor’s Cook , Daisy Luck and this year’s Theseus no fune (Ship Of Theseus), and provided the voice of the character Emily Thorne in the Japanese language version of the TV series Revenge. 

The 19th series of AIBOU: Tokyo Detective Duo, in which she stars, will air in October. 

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