Sabu (director)

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MJK33850 Sabu (Mr Long, Berlinale 2017).jpg
Sabu at the Berlinale 2017
Born (1964-11-18) November 18, 1964 (age 52)
Wakayama, Wakayama, Japan
Occupation Film director and actor.

Sabu (サブ?, Sabu, born November 18, 1964) is the pseudonym of Japanese actor and director Hiroyuki Tanaka (田中博行[1]?, Tanaka Hiroyuki).


Born in Wakayama Prefecture, Sabu studied at an Osaka fashion school before deciding to go to Tokyo to become a professional musician.[2] It was suggested he try acting and in 1986 he made his film debut in Sorobanzuku. He earned his first starring role in the 1991 World Apartment Horror, a live-action film directed by Katsuhiro Ōtomo of Akira fame. Working from a script he wrote himself, he made his directorial debut with the 1996 Dangan Runner, a film that set his early style of "quirky action-comedies propelled by characters who hurtle headlong though squirming narratives steered more by the forces of incidence and coincidence than the actions of the protagonists themselves."[3] Shin'ichi Tsutsumi played the lead in Sabu's first five films. Blessing Bell, starring Susumu Terajima (who has played minor roles in nearly all of Sabu's films), was a turn away from his kinetic, parodic, and black comedy narratives, and earned the NETPAC Award at the 2003 Berlin Film Festival.[4] Later films featured the J-pop band V6. In 2009, he directed The Crab Cannery Ship, a modern adaptation of a classic of Japanese proletarian literature written by Takiji Kobayashi.

He has continued to work as an actor, such as in Takashi Miike's Ichi the Killer (2001).

His upcoming film Chasuke's Journey has been selected to be screened in the main competition section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival.[5]

Selected filmography[edit]




  1. ^ "Eiga kantoku Sabu, 6 sakuhin jōei". Yomitaimu. 14 January 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Sōichirō, Matsutani. "PiC Interview VOL.001 SABU". PiC Internet Magazine. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Sharp, Jasper (17 February 2003). "The Blessing Bell". Midnight Eye. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "NETPAC Shō ni Nihon sakuhin". 47 News. 15 February 2003. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Berlinale 2015: Competition Complete". Retrieved 1 February 2015. 

External links[edit]