Ishihara Yujiro, Otaru’s most famous citizen, was a Japanese cinematic legend of the 1950′s and 1960′s who embodied the rebellious youth movement during that period. Often compared to Elvis in terms of pop culture impact in Japan, Ishihara appeared in as many as six films a year during his peak between 1956 and 1962. He also had a successful singing career but had an indulgent lifestyle that ultimately led to health problems and relatively early death in 1987 at age 52 after a long battle with liver cancer. In 1999, as testimony to his enduring popularity, 170,000 fans showed up for his 13th year memorial service, significant in Buddhism.
The Ishihara Yujiro Memorial Mall (Tel: 34-1188) was opened in July 1991, displaying many of his personal possessions and showing his films and TV shows to a steady stream of visitors. The hall is open daily between 09:00am-7:00pm with an entry fee of 1,500 yen, 300 yen for children between 6 and 12 years old. Take Otaru Marine-go and get off at Otaru Port Marina Stop, then walk 1 minute.