TOKYO, JUNE 24 -- Hibari Misora, 52, a Japanese balladeer whose teary, melancholy performances in countless Japanese films and TV shows caught the spirit of her country's postwar odyssey for millions of people here, died today at a hospital here. She had pneumonia. She was the foremost female exponent of enka, popular songs that unabashedly celebrate tragic love, the grim satisfaction of unpleasant duty done and the naivete of childhood. By the end of her career, Miss Misora had sold 68 million records, recorded 1,200 songs and appeared in 107 films. Upon her death, Japanese television and newspapers unleashed an avalanche of retrospectives, some suggesting that her death was as much the end of an era as that of Emperor Hirohito in January. She burst on the scene in 1946 at the age of 9, a young, Shirley Temple-type figure who projected youthful verve and sincerity. Her origins as the daughter of a Yokohama fishmonger helped her credentials as a symbol of ordinary folk. Promoted energetically by her mother, she performed on radio and in the grainy black-and-white films that were among Japan's few forms of entertainment in the harsh years after World War II. As television spread throughout Japan, she became a truly national figure. Performing sometimes in western dress, sometimes in kimono, she mastered the trademark warble and subdued gestures of enka. Sometimes she sang with tears streaming down her face. In a society that values self-control and discipline, enka functions as a social steam valve. Across the country, bars play it nightly and let customers, usually those who have knocked back a few drinks, have a turn at the microphone. TV carries it too. Off stage, Miss Misora's life was often tumultuous. Her marriage to a famous star of Japanese action movies, Akira Kobayashi, ended in divorce in 1964 after a year and a half. She was also criticized for associations she maintained throughout her career with yakuza, the organized gangsters who have often been major powers in the Japanese entertainment world. Those ties led officials to ban her in recent years from a major enka show that is broadcast on national television every New Year's Eve. JOHN PAUL ROSENDALL Insulator John Paul Rosendall, 71, an insulator with Local No. 24 of the Heat and Frost Insulators union for nearly 30 years before retiring in the late 1970s, died of cancer June 23 at his home in Wheaton. He did accounting work for the Hibbs & Co. brokerage firm and the Stone & Webster construction company here before becoming an insulator in 1950. Mr. Rosendall was a native of Washington and a 1935 graduate of Central High School. He took accounting courses at Columbus University here. During World War II, he was serving with the 1st Armored Division in North Africa when he was taken prisoner by the German army. Survivors include his wife, the former Ann Gildea, of Wheaton; three sons, Richard, of Washington, and Dan and Thomas, both of Silver Spring; four daughters, Barbara Boch of Dale City, Joan Hoffman of Gaithersburg, Patricia Truitt of Chicago, and Ann Fox of Silver Spring; and 11 grandchildren.