Kazuo Miyagawa (宮川 一夫, Miyagawa Kazuo, February 25, 1908 – August 7, 1999) was a Japanese cinematographer.

Kazuo Miyagawa
Kazuo Miyagawa (left) with Kon Ichikawa (right). (1963)
Born(1908-02-25)25 February 1908
Died7 August 1999(1999-08-07) (aged 91)
Known forBleach bypass technique



Born in Kyoto, Miyagawa was taken with sumi-e Chinese ink painting from the age of eleven and began to sell his work as an illustrator while a teenager.[1][2] He became interested in the cinema during the 1920s, particularly admiring the German Expressionist silents. He joined the Nikkatsu film company in 1926 after graduating from Kyoto Commercial School.[3][4] He began as a laboratory technician before becoming an assistant cameraman.[2] Miyagawa cited the cinematography of Eiji Tsuburaya, Hiromitsu Karasawa [ja] and Kenzo Sakai as an influence on his career.[5]

Miyagawa is best known for his tracking shots, particularly those in Rashomon (1950), the first of his three collaborations with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. The other films with Kurosawa were Yojimbo (1961) and Kagemusha (1980).[4] He also worked on multiple films directed by Kenji Mizoguchi, including Ugetsu (1953). Still, only on a single Yasujirō Ozu production, Floating Weeds (1959).[2] He oversaw 164 cameramen for Kon Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad (1965), a documentary which necessitated the development of new exposure meters and viewfinders.[4] Earlier, he had worked with Ichikawa on the drama films, Enjō ("The Temple of the Golden Pavilion", 1958), Odd Obsession (aka, The Key, 1959) and The Broken Commandment (1962).[1]

Miyagawa worked with Masahiro Shinoda in the 1980s, and at the end of his life was supervising the director's Owls' Castle ("Fukuro no Shiro"/"Castle of Owls", 1999).[1]

Miyagawa is considered the inventor of the cinematographic technique known as bleach bypass, for Ichikawa's film Her Brother (1960).[6][7][8]

Selected filmography



  1. ^ a b c Kirkup, James (September 30, 1999). "Obituary: Kazuo Miyagawa". The Independent. London. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Ebiri, Bilge (April 13, 2018). "Meet the Man Who Shot Some of Japanese Cinema's Greatest Masterpieces". The Village Voice. New York City. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  3. ^ "Kazuo Miyagawa: Japan's Greatest Cinematographer". Museum of Modern Art. April 12–29, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Bergan, Ronald (August 20, 1999). "Kazuo Miyagawa". The Guardian. London. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Watanabe, Hiroshi (December 10, 1997). 映像を彫る 改訂版撮影監督宮川一夫の世界 [Carving Pictures: The World of Kazuo Miyagawa, Director of Photography, Revised Edition] (in Japanese). Pandora. p. 55. ISBN 978-4768477830.
  6. ^ "Kon Ichikawa Retrospective Part 1" (in Japanese). National Film Center. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
  7. ^ 日刊スポーツ・訃報・宮川一夫氏 (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
  8. ^ "東京現像所:the 50th Anniversary:TOGENの歴史" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2008-04-20.