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Yoji Yamada

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Yōji Yamada
山田 洋次
Yoji Yamada at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2019
Born (1931-09-13) 13 September 1931 (age 92)
Toyonaka, Japan
Occupation(s)Film director, screenwriter
Years active1961–present
Japanese name
Hiraganaやまだ ようじ
Katakanaヤマダ ヨウジ

Yoji Yamada (山田 洋次, Yamada Yōji, born 13 September 1931) is a Japanese film director best known for his Otoko wa Tsurai yo series of films and his Samurai Trilogy (The Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade and Love and Honor).


He was born in Osaka, but due to his father's job as an engineer for the South Manchuria Railway, he was brought up in Dalian, China. from the age of two.[citation needed] Following the end of World War II, he returned to Japan and subsequently lived in Yamagata Prefecture. After receiving his degree from Tokyo University in 1954, he entered Shochiku and worked under Yoshitaro Nomura as a scriptwriter or as an assistant director.[citation needed]

He won many awards throughout his lengthy career and is well respected in Japan and by critics throughout the world. He wrote his first screenplay in 1958, and directed his first movie in 1961. Yamada continues to make movies to this day. He once served as president of the Directors Guild of Japan,[1] and is currently a guest professor of Ritsumeikan University.[2]

Tora-san series[edit]

Known in Japan under the title Otoko wa Tsurai yo, his Tora-san series features traveling merchant Torajirō, who is always unlucky in love. Since the lead role in every Tora-san movie was played by Kiyoshi Atsumi, his death in 1996 put an end to the series and Yamada moved on to other movies. Although Yamada is known for his long-running series of movies—four films in the A Class to Remember series, 13 in the Free and Easy (Tsuribaka Nisshi) series—none has reached the prolific numbers of the Tora-san series. Over a period of about 25 years, 48 Tora-san films were made, all of them starring Atsumi, and the majority written and directed by Yamada.

Notable awards[edit]

His movies have won the Best Picture award at the Japanese Academy Awards four times: in 1977 for The Yellow Handkerchief, in 1991 for My Sons, in 1993 for A Class to Remember, and in 2002 for The Twilight Samurai, which was nominated for the 76th Academy Awards' Best Foreign Language Film. He won the Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year three times. His 1984 film, Tora-san's Forbidden Love, was nominated for the Golden Prize at the 14th Moscow International Film Festival.[3]

His 2004 film, The Hidden Blade, was nominated for sixteen awards and won three.[citation needed] In 2010, Yamada was honored at the 2010 Berlin Film Festival with a screening of his latest film Otōto during the awards ceremony, as well as receiving a Berlinale Camera award for his numerous contributions to the festival's program.[4]






  1. ^ "Nihon eiga kantoku kyōkai nenpyō" (in Japanese). Nihon eiga kantoku kyōkai. Archived from the original on 26 July 2010. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
  2. ^ "立命館大学 映像学部 | 最新ニュース". Archived from the original on 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2010-02-09.
  3. ^ "14th Moscow International Film Festival (1985)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 9 February 2013.
  4. ^ "Berlinale website". Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  5. ^ "キネマの神様". eiga.com. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  6. ^ "山田洋次監督の新作、主演は吉永小百合&大泉洋!『こんにちは、母さん』来年9月公開". Cinematoday. Retrieved October 3, 2022.
  7. ^ a b "宮崎駿、アニメ監督初の文化功労者に選ばれ自戒". Cinematoday. Retrieved January 19, 2021.

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