Jump to content

Denjirō Ōkōchi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Denjirō Ōkōchi
大河内 傳次郎
Denjirō Ōkōchi
Born(1898-02-05)February 5, 1898
DiedJuly 18, 1962(1962-07-18) (aged 64)
Other namesMasuo Ōbe
OccupationFilm actor
Years active1925 – 1961

Denjirō Ōkōchi (大河内 傳次郎, Ōkōchi Denjirō, February 5, 1898 – July 18, 1962) was a Japanese film actor best known for starring roles in jidaigeki directed by leading Japanese filmmakers.

Early life and family[edit]

Ōkōchi was born Masuo Ōbe[1] on February 5, 1898, in Ōkōchi, Iwaya (present-day Ōkōchi, Buzen), Fukuoka Prefecture, the fifth son and eighth of nine children[2] of town physician Susumu Ōbe and his wife Aki. Ōkōchi was born to a family of physicians; his father Susumu was the 16th generation of the Ōbe family of physicians, and had served as a personal physician to the daimyo before establishing his own practice following the Meiji Restoration. His paternal grandmother was the daughter of Suematsu Gendō, the domain doctor of Kokura. His mother Aki was the daughter of a Confucian scholar and samurai in the service of Nakatsu Domain.[3]


Ōkōchi entered Shinkokugeki (New National Theatre), training under Sawada Shōjirō (aka Sawasho). Sawada founded this new school of popular theatre in 1917 which had strong cultural impact by the early 1920s.[4] Shinkokugeki was known for jidaigeki the period drama genre, particularly for its realistic sword fights (tate) or swordplay (kengeki).[4]

With this background, Ōkōchi entered the Nikkatsu studio in 1925 and soon came to fame in chanbara (sword-fighting) samurai films – a subgenre of jidaigeki emphasizing tate[4] – playing characters such as Chūji Kunisada and Tange Sazen.[1]

At his peak, he was one of the top jidaigeki stars alongside Tsumasaburō Bandō and Chiezō Kataoka. During World War II, he also appeared in a number of war films. During the second Toho strike in 1946, Okochi led the formation of a new union which opposed the strike. After the end of the strike, the new union became Shintoho.[5]

He was directed by Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda, Daisuke Itō, Sadao Yamanaka, Teinosuke Kinugasa, Hiroshi Inagaki and Masahiro Makino.


Ōkōchi had ceased acting by 1961, dying a year later on July 18, 1962.


His house and garden in Arashiyama, Kyoto, called Ōkōchi Sansō,[6] are still preserved and open to the public.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ōkōchi Denjirō". Nihon jinmei daijiten (in Japanese). Kōdansha. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
  2. ^ 日本映画俳優全集・男優編. Kinema Junpo. 1979. pp. 98–100.
  3. ^ 富士, 正晴 (1978). 大河内傳次郎. 中央公論新社. pp. 8–12. ISBN 978-4120008399.
  4. ^ a b c Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema, Duke University Press, 2000; Ch "Seven Samurai" p213
  5. ^ Hirano, Kyoko (1992). Mr. Smith Goes to Tokyo: Japanese Cinema Under the American Occupation. Smithsonian Institution. pp. 219–220.
  6. ^ "Okochi Sanso Villa". Japan Visitor. Retrieved 8 January 2010.

External links[edit]