Juzo Itami (伊丹 十三, Itami Jūzō), born Yoshihiro Ikeuchi (池内 義弘, Ikeuchi Yoshihiro, May 15, 1933 – December 20, 1997), was a Japanese actor, screenwriter and film director. He directed eleven films, all of which he wrote himself.
Yoshihiro Ikeuchi (池内 義弘)
May 15, 1933
|Died||December 20, 1997 (aged 64)|
|Occupation||Film director, screenwriter, actor|
|Spouse(s)||Kazuko Kawakita (1960–66)|
Nobuko Miyamoto (1969–1997)
Itami was born Yoshihiro Ikeuchi in Kyoto. The name Itami was passed on from his father, Mansaku Itami—who was a renowned satirist and film director before World War II. He was the brother-in-law of Kenzaburō Ōe and uncle of Hikari Ōe. He played the father Ishihara in the comic TV program Cometa-san.
At the end of the war, when he was in Kyoto, Itami was chosen as an prodigy and educated at Tokubetsu Kagaku Gakkyū (特別科学学級; "the special scientific education class") as a future scientist who was expected to defeat the Allied powers. Among his fellow students were the sons of Hideki Yukawa and Sin-Itiro Tomonaga. This class was abolished in March 1947.
He moved from Kyoto to Ehime Prefecture when he was a high school student. He attended the prestigious Matsuyama Higashi High School, where he was known for being able to read works by Arthur Rimbaud in French. But, due to his poor academic record, he had to remain in the same class for two years. It was here that he became acquainted with Kenzaburō Ōe, who later married his sister. When it turned out that he could not graduate from Matsuyama Higashi High School, he transferred to Matsuyama Minami High School, from which he graduated.
After failing the entrance exam for the College of Engineering at Osaka University, Itami worked at times as a commercial designer, a television reporter, a magazine editor, and an essayist.
Itami studied acting at an acting school called Butai Geijutsu Gakuin in Tokyo. In January 1960 he joined Daiei Film and was given the stage name Itami Ichizō (伊丹 一三) by Masaichi Nagata. In May 1960, Itami married Kazuko Kawakita, the daughter of film producer Nagamasa Kawakita. He first acted on screen in Ginza no Dora-Neko (1960). In 1961 he left Daiei and started to appear in foreign-language films such as 55 Days at Peking. In 1965 he appeared in the big-budget Anglo-American film Lord Jim. In 1965 he published a book of essays which became a hit, Yoroppa Taikutsu Nikki ("Diary of boredom in Europe"). In 1966 he and Kazuko agreed to divorce.
In 1967, when working with Nagisa Oshima on a film Sing a Song of Sex (Nihon Shunka Kō) he met Nobuko Miyamoto. He and Miyamoto married in 1969. Around this time, he changed his stage name to "伊丹 十三" (Itami Jūzō) with the kanji "十" (ten) rather than "一" (one), and worked as a character actor in film and television.
In 1968 he played Saburo Ishihara, the father of Takeshi and Koji during season II, in the series for children Cometo-San. He is well known for these series, even today, in most Spanish speaking countries along singer Yumiko Kokonoe who played Cometo-San.
In the 1970s, he joined the TV Man Union television production company and produced and presented documentaries for television, which influenced his later career as a film director. He also worked as a reporter for a TV programme called Afternoon Show.
Itami's debut as director was the movie Osōshiki (The Funeral) in 1984, at the age of 50. This film proved popular in Japan and won many awards, including Japanese Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. However, it was his second movie, the "noodle western" Tampopo, that earned him international exposure and acclaim.
On May 22, 1992, six days after the release of his anti-yakuza satire Minbō no Onna, Itami was attacked, beaten, and slashed on the face by five members of the Goto-gumi, a Shizuoka-based yakuza clan, who were angry at Itami's film's portrayal of yakuza members. This attack led to a government crackdown on the yakuza.
His subsequent stay in a hospital inspired his next film Daibyonin, a grim satire on the Japanese health system. During a showing of this film in Japan, a cinema screen was slashed by a right-wing protester.
Itami died on December 20, 1997 in Tokyo, after falling from the roof of the building where his office was located. On his desk was found a suicide note stating he had been falsely accused of an affair and took his life to clear his name; two days later, a tabloid magazine published a report of such an affair. None of his family believed that he would so take his life or that he would be mortally embarrassed by a real or alleged affair. One theory is that Itami's suicide was forced by members of the Goto-gumi yakuza faction. A former member of the Goto-gumi faction told journalist Jake Adelstein in 2008, “We set it up to stage his murder as a suicide. We dragged him up to the rooftop and put a gun in his face. We gave him a choice: jump and you might live or stay and we’ll blow your face off. He jumped. He didn’t live.”
|1960||Ginza no dora-neko|
|1961||A False Student||Soratani (Ichizo Itami)|
|1961||Her Brother||Son of Factory Owner||Uncredited|
|1961||The Big Wave||Toru|
|1961||Ten Dark Women||Hanamaki|
|1963||Onna no tsurihashi||Saburô Ôki||(Episode 2)|
|1963||55 Days at Peking||Col. Shiba|
|1966||Otokonokao wa rirekisho|
|1967||Sing a Song of Sex||Ôtake|
|1967||Choueki juhachi-nen: kari shutsugoku|
|1968||Shôwa genroku Tokyo 196X-nen|
|1968||Ah kaiten tokubetsu kogetikai|
|1969||Kinpeibai||Hsi Men Ching|
|1969||Eiko e no 5,000 kiro|
|1969||Heat Wave Island||Iino|
|1970||Hiko shonen: Wakamono no toride||Ishizaka|
|1971||Yasashii Nippon jin|
|1973||Kunitori Monogatari||Ashikaga Yoshiaki||TV Series|
|1973||Shinsho Taikōki||Araki Murashige||TV Series|
|1974||Lady Snowblood: Love Song of Vengeance||Ransui Tokunaga|
|1975||Wagahai wa neko de aru||Meitei|
|1979||Collections privées||(segment "Kusa-Meikyu")|
|1979||No More Easy Life||Takamizawa - Landlord|
|1979||Grass Labyrinth||Principal / Priest / Old man||Short|
|1981||Slow na boogie ni shitekure||Lawyer|
|1981||Shikake-nin Baian||Sahei Oumiya|
|1983||The Makioka Sisters||Tatsuo Makioka, Tsuruko's husband|
|1983||The Family Game||Mr. Numata, the father|
|1984||Setouchi shonen yakyu dan||Hatano|
|1985||The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girl||Professor Hirayama|||
|1985||Haru no Hatō||Itō Hirobumi||TV Series|
|1989||Sweet Home||Yamamura||(final film role)|
|1962||Rubber Band Pistol||Short|
|1987||A Taxing Woman|
|1988||A Taxing Woman's Return|
|1990||A-Ge-Man: Tales of a Golden Geisha|
|1995||Shizuka na Seikatsu||"A Quiet Life"|
|1997||Marutai no Onna||"Woman in Witness Protection"|
- The Independent
- Vincent Canby (March 26, 1987). "New Directors/New Films; 'Tampopo,' A Comedy from Japan". The New York Times.
- The New York Times
- Associated Press
- Crow, Jonathan. "Juzo Itami". AllMovie. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
- Chicago Tribune
- "Reposted: The high price of writing about anti-social forces–and those who pay. 猪狩先生を弔う日々 : Japan Subculture Research Center". www.japansubculture.com. Retrieved 2016-01-05.
- Tayler, Christopher (June 12, 2010). "The Changeling by Kenzaburo Oe". The Guardian.
- Juzo Itami Museum.