Open main menu

Masaki Kobayashi (小林 正樹, Kobayashi Masaki, February 14, 1916 – October 4, 1996) was a Japanese film director, best known for the epic trilogy The Human Condition (1959–1961), the samurai films Harakiri (1962) and Samurai Rebellion (1967), and Kwaidan (1964).[1]

Masaki Kobayashi
Born(1916-02-14)February 14, 1916
Otaru, Japan
DiedOctober 4, 1996(1996-10-04) (aged 80)
Tokyo, Japan
OccupationFilm director, producer, writer


Kobayashi was a second cousin of the actress and director Kinuyo Tanaka.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Kobayashi studied East Asian art and philosophy. He embarked on a career in film in 1941 when he entered Shochiku Studios as an apprentice director, but was immediately drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army and sent to Manchuria.[1]

Kobayashi regarded himself as a pacifist, and resisted by refusing promotion to a rank higher than private.[3] He spent time as a prisoner of war in an Okinawa camp. After his release, in 1946, he returned to Shochiku as assistant to the director Keisuke Kinoshita.[1]


Kobayashi's directorial debut was in 1952 with 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, which makes it one of the longest fiction films ever made for theatrical release.[1]

In 1962 he directed Harakiri, which won the Jury Prize at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival.

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,[4] and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.[5]

In 1968, Akira Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, Kon Ichikawa and Kobayashi founded the directors group, Shiki no kai-The Four Horsemen Club, in an attempt to create movies for younger generations.[1][6]

In 1969, he was a member of the jury at the 19th Berlin International Film Festival.[7]

He was also a candidate for directing the Japanese sequences for Tora! Tora! Tora! after Akira Kurosawa left the film. But instead Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda were chosen.

One of his grand projects was a film on Yasushi Inoue's novel about Buddhist China, Tun Huang, which never came to fruition.[1]


Born as the son of a company employee in Otaru-ku, Hokkaido (currently Otaru City ). Actress Kinuyo Tanaka of The cousin [1] [2] corresponds to. Studied Oriental art at Waseda University, Department of Philosophy, and studied with Aizu Yaichi . While attending school, she was invited by Kinyo Tanaka to participate in the filming scene of the movie “Kuwa no Uta wa Red” ( directed by Hiroshi Shimizu ) for a month. 1941 (1941) Waseda University graduation. The graduation thesis is " Study on the establishment of Muroji Temple ".

In the same year, he joined the assistant director of Shochiku Ofuna Photography Center . In synchronization Yoshitarō Nomura was purchased. During the entrance examination, I asked Kinyo Tanaka, who was a close friend, to introduce me, but I was told that “the movie world doesn't work unless you have the skills” and concealed that he was a friend of Tanaka. In the same year, after serving as an assistant director for “Sho no Chorus” (directed by Hiroshi Shimizu) and “Kazeru Niwa” ( directed by Hideo Ohba ), he was accepted. He guards the Soviet border in Manchuria. He wrote the scenario “Bad” between the military affairs. Moved to Miyakojima in 1944 and engaged in airfield construction work. In 1945 (Showa 20), the war ended in Miyakojima, but was detained as a labor worker in Kadena POW Camp in Okinawa Island.

Returned to Shochiku Ofuna photo studio in 1946 (Showa 21) and joined Keisuke Kinoshita as assistant director in 1947 (Showa 22) . 1948 "of the (1948) Hakai from" served as a chief in the "Japanese tragedy" up to 11 works, was called the honor student of Kinoshita disciple. In 1952 (Showa 27), he directed the middle part “Youth of the Son”, and in 1953 (Showa 28), he was officially promoted to director in “Magokoro”, which was written by Kinoshita. In the same year, he directed the heavy-duty work “Wall Atsuki Room” depicting BC-class war criminals who were imprisoned for innocent crimes by a script written by Abe Kobo , but was released until 1956 due to consideration for the United States. It was. Later, “ You Buy ”, which revealed the inner baseball of professional baseball , and “ Black River ” in 1957 (Showa 32) , which describes the degradation of the base town, are evaluated.

1959 from (1959) 1961 has been published over the three-year (1961), " Human Joken " is, Junpei Gomikawa large full-length anti-war novel of the original " human Joken in the film adaptation of", over a long time With a shooting period and enormous production costs, it became a 6-part, 9-hour, 31-minute super-production. The completed work, during the war the Japanese army and the violence of, rebellious and was it intelligent defeat and adversity of soldiers, fled, brilliantly Egakikiri the death, Mainichi Art Award, Mainichi Film Award Best Director, Venice International Film Festival San Giorgio Win a prize. Followed by 1962 (1962), Yasuhiko Takiguchi was in the original novel "Ibun Ronin Symbol" of Shinobu Hashimoto give the screenplay, the first of the period drama "that boasted" the most density is high in the self-made "even in its own seppuku ” Won the Cannes International Film Festival Jury Special Award. Then Yakumo Koizumi of the original " ghost story the" omnibus first color work "was a movie in the manner ghost storyIs a three-hour masterpiece that won the Cannes International Film Festival Jury Special Award for the second time and was nominated for the Academy Award for Foreign Language Film and was highly acclaimed as one of the best masterpieces in Japanese film history. Shooting is done in partnership with large-scale set in the hangar of an aircraft, which has been a deserted house, such as an empty picture drawn in Horizont, he was in charge of the art Shigemasa Toda light is brilliant, and Toru Takemitsu music by, the picture The effect of the sound that interacts with and acting is fully demonstrated, creating a fantastic world. However, because of the large set, long-term shooting, staff cast, and other large formations of 800 people, the production cost has increased significantly, and independent production that has sent many masterpieces to the world `` Literature production carrots It suits the concern of going bankrupt with a large debt.

1965 (Showa 40) leaving Shochiku and signing a contract with a Tokyo movie , 1967 (Showa 42) , director of Mifune Pro 's first film, “ Supreme worship worship wife end ”, at the Venice International Film Festival Received the International Film Critics Federation Award and became the best one of Kinema Junpo . It became free after “Youth in Japan” in 1968 (Showa 43), and in 1969 (Showa 44), the “ Yuki no Kai ” was formed with Akira Kurosawa , Keisuke Kinoshita, and Satoshi Ichikawa . In 1971 (Showa 46), he was awarded an achievement award as one of the world's top 10 directors for the 25th anniversary of the Cannes Film Festival. From that same year, he released director films such as “ Inochibo ni Furou ” produced by the actor theater, and featured novels such as “Fossil” in 1975, when the film was also produced at the same time as a featured novel by Akira Inoue .

In 1982, over the course of five years, the US Department of Defense archive film and domestic and foreign news footage were joined together to complete the feature film “ Tokyo Trial ” of the Far Eastern International Military Trial . . While the “Tokyo Trial” received positive evaluation from Takashi Tachibana and others, it was criticized for inserting the low-credibility “ Chinese Rage ” film created by the Chinese national government into the Nanjing incident. (However, in the work, the credit "This is a Chinese film" is written and the neutrality is considered). During this time, "Inoue YasushiHara work Dunhuang warmed many years the movie planning", but the script was also completed to determine the production Shinsei Daiei president of Tokuma Yasushikokoroyo caused the discrepancy of policy in between and, forced to abandon There wasn't. In 1985 (Showa 60), he directed “ House without Tables ” on the theme of the Allied Red Military of Fumiko Yenji . This is the last movie director work.

Kobayashi looked after the late years of Kinyo Tanaka, an actress who was also suffering from cancer. Tanaka, who has no personal belongings, borrowed money, and the mansion was in a mortgage. As a result, Kobayashi fought for Tanaka without Tanaka's legal inheritance rights and no proof of lease, Kobayashi himself borrowed to release the mortgage and paid Tanaka's hospital expenses. [3 ] . When Kobayashi himself fell ill in 1985 after his death , Tanaka Kinyoyo Award was established in the daily movie competition for his work and awarded to actresses who contributed to the development of the Japanese film industry. It was to be done. Later years of Yaichi Aizu teacher of college biopic had been preparing for, 1996 (1996) October 4, myocardial infarction for the Tokyo Setagaya-ku, died at the age of 80 at his home in. The remains, Kanagawa Prefecture, Kamakura City of Enkakuji and, there is a grave is the birthplace of Kinuyo Yamaguchi Prefecture Shimonoseki are part of a person's ashes in municipal Shimonoseki central cemetery of.


  • 1952: Youth of the Son (Musuko no seishun)
  • 1953: Sincere Heart (Magokoro)
  • 1953: The Thick-Walled Room (Kabe atsuki heya) (completed in 1953, but not released until 1956)[1]
  • 1954: Three Loves (Mittsu no ai)
  • 1954: Somewhere Beneath the Broad Sky (Kono hiroi sora no dokoka ni)
  • 1955: Beautiful Days (Uruwashiki saigetsu)
  • 1956: Fountainhead aka The Spring (Izumi)
  • 1956 I Will Buy You (Anata kaimasu)
  • 1957: Black River (Kuroi kawa)
  • 1959–1961: The Human Condition trilogy (Ningen no jōken)
  • 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)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kirkup, James (October 15, 1996). "Masaki Kobayashi: Obituary". The Independent. London.
  2. ^ Sharpe, Jasper (2011). Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema. Scarecrow Press. pp. 240–242. ISBN 978-0-8108-7541-8.
  3. ^ "Harakiri: Kobayashi and History – From the Current – The Criterion Collection". Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Kwaidan". Retrieved March 4, 2009.
  5. ^ "The 38th Academy Awards (1966) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  6. ^ Hashimoto, Shinobu (2015). "Compound Cinematics: Akira Kurosawa and I". Vertical, Inc.
  7. ^ "Berlinale 1969: Juries". Retrieved March 6, 2010.

External linksEdit