15 March 1902|
|Died||21 September 1974(aged 72)|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, actor|
Kajirō Yamamoto (山本 嘉次郎 Yamamoto Kajirō?, 15 March 1902 – 21 September 1974) was a Japanese film director, screenwriter, and actor who was known for his war films and comedies and as the mentor of Akira Kurosawa.
Born in Tokyo, Yamamoto attended Keio University where he helped form a film appreciation society. He first appeared in film in 1921 as an actor opposite Yoshiko Okada, but that only earned the wrath of his family, who disowned him.
He worked as an actor on the stage, joined Nikkatsu as an assistant director, and finally made his directorial debut in 1924 at Tōa Kinema. After working at Nikkatsu again, he was lured to Photo Chemical Laboratories (P. C. L.) in 1934, where he first made a name filming the comedies of Kenichi Enomoto. When P. C. L. became the Toho company, Yamamoto helmed realist dramas such as Tsuzurikata kyōshitsu and Uma (starring Hideko Takamine), and war films such as Hawai Mare oki kaisen.
He is also responsible for the career of Toshiro Mifune. In 1947, one of Mifune's friends who worked for the Photography Department of Toho Productions suggested Mifune try out for the Photography Department. He was accepted for a position as an assistant cameraman. At this time, a large number of Toho actors, after a prolonged strike, had left to form their own company, Shin Toho. Toho then organized a "new faces" contest to find new talent. Mifune's friends submitted an application and photo, without his knowledge. He was accepted, along with 48 others (out of roughly 4000 applicants), and allowed to take a screen test for Kajiro Yamamoto. Instructed to mime anger, he drew from his wartime experiences. Yamamoto took a liking to Mifune, recommending him to director Senkichi Taniguchi.
- Enoken no Kondō Isami (エノケンの近藤勇) (1935)
- Enoken no Chakkiri Kinta (エノケンのちゃっきり金太) (1937)
- Tsuzurikata Kyōshitsu (綴方教室) (1938)
- Uma (馬) (1941)
- Hawai Mare oki kaisen (ハワイ・マレー沖海戦) (1942)
- Katō Hayabusa Sentōtai (加藤隼戦闘隊) (1944)
- A Holiday in Tokyo (東京の休日 Tōkyō no kyūjitsu) (1958)
- Those Who Make Tomorrow (明日を作る人々, Asu o tsukuru hitobito) (1946)
- Yamane Sadao (1997). "Yamamoto Kajirō". Nihon eiga jinmei jiten: Kantoku hen (in Japanese). Tokyo: Kinema Junpō. pp. 867–870.
- "Yamamoto Kajirō". Nihon jinmei daijiten + Plus (in Japanese). Kōdansha. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
- Prince, Stephen (1999). The Warrior's Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-691-01046-5.