Keisuke Kinoshita (early 1950s)
|Born||December 5, 1912|
|Died||December 30, 1998(aged 86)|
Although lesser known internationally than his fellow filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujirō Ozu, Keisuke Kinoshita was nonetheless a household figure at home beloved by audience and critics alike, especially in the forties through the sixties. He was also prolific, turning out some 42 films in the first 23 years of his career. For this, Kinoshita explained that he "can’t help it. Ideas for films have always just popped into my head like scraps of paper into a wastebasket."
Life and career
Born on 5 December 1912 in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, about halfway between Tokyo and Kyoto, to a family who owned a grocery store, Kinoshita was already a movie fan when he was eight. Vowing to become a filmmaker, he was, however, faced with opposition from his parents. When he was in high school, a film crew arrived in Hamamatsu for location shooting one day. He befriended actor Bando Junosuke when the latter came to his store for local products. Bando later helped him run away to Kyoto where most period films were made. But his grandfather came and took him back home the next day. His determination to become a filmmaker finally moved his parents into letting him pursue his own career and his mother even secured him an introduction to the Shochiku Kamata studios, where Ozu, Mikio Naruse and other famous directors worked. Without a university education, however, Kinoshita was not allowed to work as an assistant director and had to start as a photographer, for which he applied to the Oriental Photography School and graduated before he was finally admitted into Shochiku. There, he first worked in the film processing laboratory, then as a camera assistant, before he was advised by Kōzaburō Yoshimura to switch to assistant director.
In 1940, Kinoshita was drafted into the war and went to China, but returned the following year due to illness. He re-entered Shochiku and was promoted to director in 1943. Adapting a famous novel, Kinoshita made The Blossoming Port with a large cast and budget. The same year also saw the emergence of another new director, Akira Kurosawa, but it was Kinoshita who won the much coveted New Director Award at the end of that year.
Throughout his career, Kinoshita made many films which were both critically and commercially successful, among which the best known were Morning for the Osone Family (Osone-ke no asa, 1946), Carmen Comes Home (Karumen kokyo ni kaeru, 1951) (made in Fujicolor, the first color feature of Japan), Tragedy of Japan (Nihon no higeki, 1953), Twenty-Four Eyes (Nijushi no hitomi, 1954), You Were Like a Wild Chrysanthemum (Yagiku no gotoki kimi nariki, 1955), The Ballad of Narayama (Narayama bushi kō, 1958)), and The River Fuefuki (Fuefukigawa, 1960). He refused to be bound by genre, technique or dogma. He excelled in almost every genre, comedy, tragedy, social dramas, period films. He shot all films on location or in a one-house set. He pursued severe photographic realism with the long take, long-shot method, and he has gone equally far toward stylization with fast cutting, intricate wipes, tilted cameras and even medieval scroll-painting and Kabuki stage technique.
Although few concrete details have emerged about Kinoshita's personal life, his homosexuality was widely known in the film world. Screenwriter and frequent collaborator Yoshio Shirasaka recalls the "brilliant scene" Kinoshita made with the handsome, well-dressed assistant directors he surrounded himself with. His 1959 film Farewell to Spring (Sekishuncho) has been called "Japan's first gay film" for the emotional intensity depicted between its male characters.
Kinoshita received the Order of the Rising Sun in 1984 and was awarded the Order of Culture in 1991 by the Japanese government. He died on December 30, 1998, of a stroke. His grave is in Engaku-ji in Kamakura, very near to that of his fellow Shochiku director, Yasujiro Ozu.
In 2013 five of Kinoshita's films; Jubilation Street (1944), Woman (1948), Engagement Ring (1950), Farewell to Dream (1956) and A Legend or Was It? (1963) were screened in the Forum section of the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival.
In 1946 Masaki Kobayashi became his assistant, and later formed with him, Akira Kurosawa, and Kon Ichikawa a directors group called Shiki no kai (The Four Horsemen Club). The goal were productions for a younger audience.
- 1943 The Living Magoroku 生きてゐる孫六 Ikite iru Magoroku
- 1943 Port of Flowers 花咲く港 Hana saku minato
- 1944 Army 陸軍 Rikugun
- 1944 Jubilation Street 歓呼の町 Kanko no Machi
- 1946 The Girl I Loved わが恋せし乙女 Waga koiseshi otome
- 1946 Morning for the Osone Family 大曾根家の朝 Ōsone-ke no asa
- 1947 Phoenix 不死鳥 Fushichō
- 1947 Marriage 結婚 Kekkon
- 1948 Apostasy 破戒 Hakai
- 1948 The Portrait 肖像 Shōzō
- 1948 The Lady (aka, Woman) 女 Onna
- 1949 Broken Drum 破れ太鼓 Yabure daiko
- 1949 The Yotsuya Ghost Story I & II 新釈四谷怪談(前後編) Shin'yaku Yotsuya kaidan (sengo hen)
- 1949 Let's Toast the Young Lady お嬢さん乾杯！ Ojō-san kanpai!
- 1950 Wedding Ring (aka, Engagement Ring) 婚約指環 Kon'yaku yubiwa
- 1951 Good Devil 善魔 Zenma
- 1952 Fireworks by the Ocean (aka, Fireworks Over the Sea) 海の花火 Umi no hanabi
- 1952 A Record of Youth (aka, Boyhood) 少年期 Shonen-ki
- 1952 Carmen Comes Home カルメン故郷に帰る Karumen kokyō ni kaeru
- 1952 Carmen's Innocent Love カルメン純情す Karumen junjōsu
- 1953 A Japanese Tragedy (aka, Tragedy of Japan) 日本の悲劇 Nihon no higeki
- 1954 Twenty-Four Eyes 二十四の瞳 Nijushi no hitomi
- 1954 The Garden of Women (aka, The Eternal Generation) 女の園 Onna no sono
- 1955 She Was Like a Wild Chrysanthemum (aka, You Were Like a Wild Chrysanthemum or My First Love Affair) 野菊の如き君なりき Nogiku no gotoki kimi nariki
- 1955 The Tattered Wings (aka, Distant Clouds) 遠い雲 Tōi kumo
- 1956 A Rose on His Arm 太陽とバラ Taiyō to bara
- 1956 Farewell to Dream (aka, Clouds at Twilight) 夕やけ雲 Yūyake-gumo
- 1957 Danger Stalks Near (aka, Candle in the Wind) 風前の灯 Fūzen no tomoshibi
- 1957 The Lighthouse (aka, Years of Joy and Sorrow) 喜びも悲しみも幾歳月 Yorokobi mo kanashimi mo ikutoshitsuki
- 1958 The Ballad of Narayama 楢山節考 Narayama bushi kō
- 1958 The Eternal Rainbow この天の虹 Kono ten no niji
- 1959 The Snow Flurry 風花 Kaza-hana
- 1959 Farewell to Spring 惜春鳥 Sekishunchō
- 1959 Thus Another Day 今日もまたかくてありなん Kyō mo mata kakute arinan
- 1960 The River Fuefuki 笛吹川 Fuefukigawa
- 1960 Spring Dreams 春の夢 Haru no yume
- 1961 Immortal Love (aka, The Bitter Spirit) 永遠の人 Eien no hito
- 1962 Ballad of a Workman (aka, The Seasons We Walked Together) 二人で歩いた幾春秋 Futari de aruita ikushunjū
- 1962 This Year's Love 今年の恋 Kotoshi no koi
- 1963 Legend of a Duel to the Death 死闘の伝説 Shitō no densetsu
- 1963 Sing, Young People! 歌え若人達 Utae wakōdotachi
- 1964 The Scent of Incense 香華 Kōge
- 1967 Lovely Flute and Drum なつかしき笛や太鼓 Natsukashiki fue ya taiko
- 1976 Love and Separation in Sri Lanka スリランカの愛と別れ Suri Ranka no ai to wakare
- 1979 Oh, My son! (aka, Impulse Murder) 衝動殺人・息子よ Shōdō satsujin musuko yo
- 1980 The Young Rebels 父よ母よ! Chichi yo, haha yo!
- 1983 Children of Nagasaki この子を残して Kono ko o nokoshite
- 1986 Big Joys, Small Sorrows 新・喜びも悲しみも幾歳月 Shin yorokobi mo kanoshimi mo ikutoshitsuki
- 1988 Father 父 Chichi
Two of Kinoshita's films won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film:
- Ronald Bergan "A satirical eye on Japan: Keisuke Kinoshita", The Guardian, 5 January 1999.
- Alexander Jacoby A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors, 2008, Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, p111
- Shirasaki Yoshio (2008). Shinario Rokugatsugo Bessatsu Kyakuhonka Shirasaki Yoshio no Sekai "Kaita! Tonda! Asonda!" Shinario sakka kyokai. ASIN B003VIQBOW.
- Ishihara Ikuko "Isai no hito: Kinoshita Keisuke, yowai otokotachi no utsukushisa o chushin ni"
- "Film director Keisuke Kinoshita dead at 86". Japan Times. 30 December 1998. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
- "Forum 2013: Special Screenings". berlinale. Retrieved 2013-01-22.
- Kirkup, James (October 15, 1996). "Masaki Kobayashi: Obituary". London: The Independent.
- Hashimoto, Shinobu (2015). "Compound Cinematics: Akira Kurosawa and I". Vertical, Inc.
- Internet Movie Database (IMDb): Nijushi no hitomi, 1954).
- IMDb: Taiyo to Bara, 1956.
- "The 34th Academy Awards (1962) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-29.