February 14, 1916|
|Died||October 4, 1996
|Occupation||Film director, producer, writer|
Kobayashi studied ancient oriental arts and philosophy. Kobayashi embarked on a career in film in 1941 when he entered Shochiku Studios as an apprentice director, but his career was almost immediately interrupted when he was drafted into the army and sent to Manchuria.
Kobayashi regarded himself as a pacifist. His way of resisting was to refuse promotion to a rank higher than private. He spent time as a prisoner of war in a Okinawa camp. After his release, in 1946, he returned to Shochiku as assistant to the director Keisuke Kinoshita.
Kobayashi's directorial debut was in 1952 when he made Musuko no Seishun (My Son's Youth).
From 1959 to 1961, Kobayashi directed The Human Condition (1959–1961), a trilogy on the effects of World War II on a Japanese pacifist and socialist. The total length of the films is almost ten hours, and the longest fiction film ever made.
In 1964, Kobayashi made Kwaidan (1964), his first color film, a collection of four ghost stories drawn from books by Lafcadio Hearn. Kwaidan won the Special Jury Prize at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
- 1952: My Sons' Youth (Musuko no seishun)
- 1953: Sincerity (Magokoro)
- 1953: The Thick-Walled Room (Kabe atsuki heya) (completed in 1953, but not released until 1957)
- 1954: Three Loves (Mittsu no ai)
- 1954: Somewhere Beneath the Wide Sky (Kono hiroi sora no dokoka ni)
- 1955: Beautiful Days (Uruwashiki saigetsu)
- 1956: Fountainhead aka The Spring (Izumi)
- 1956 I'll Buy You (Anata kaimasu)
- 1957: Black River (Kuroi kawa)
- 1959–1961: The Human Condition trilogy (Ningen no jōken)
- 1959: No Greater Love
- 1959: Road to Eternity
- 1961: A Soldier's Prayer
- 1962: The Inheritance (Karami-ai)
- 1962: Harakiri (Seppuku)
- 1964: Kwaidan
- 1967: Samurai Rebellion (Jōi-uchi: Hairyō-tsuma shimatsu)
- 1968: Hymn to a Tired Man (Nihon no seishun)
- 1971: Inn of Evil (Inochi bō ni furō)
- 1975: The Fossil (Kaseki)
- 1979: Glowing Autumn (Moeru aki)
- 1983: Tokyo Trial (Tōkyō saiban)
- 1985: Family Without a Dinner Table aka The Empty Table (Shokutaku no nai ie)
- Kirkup, James (October 15, 1996). "Masaki Kobayashi: Obituary". London: The Independent.
- Sharpe, Jasper (2011). Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema. Scarecrow Press. pp. 240–242. ISBN 978-0-8108-7541-8.
- "Harakiri: Kobayashi and History – From the Current – The Criterion Collection". Criterion.com. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- "Festival de Cannes: Kwaidan". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved March 4, 2009.
- "The 38th Academy Awards (1966) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
- Hashimoto, Shinobu (2015). "Compound Cinematics: Akira Kurosawa and I". Vertical, Inc.
- "Berlinale 1969: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- Masaki Kobayashi at the Internet Movie Database
- Masaki Kobayashi at the Japanese Movie Database (Japanese)
- Masaki Kobayashi movies at The Criterion Collection