Open main menu

Yūzō Kawashima (川島雄三, Kawashima Yūzō, 4 February 1918 – 11 June 1963) was a Japanese film director, most famous for making tragi-comic films and satires.

Yūzō Kawashima
Yūzō Kawashima
Born(1918-02-04)4 February 1918
Died11 June 1963(1963-06-11) (aged 45)
OccupationFilm director
Known forSun in the Last Days of the Shogunate
Yūzō Kawashima (left) during the shooting of Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate



Kawashima was born in Mutsu, Aomori in the Shimokita Peninsula. From his youth, he suffered from a paralysis that affected his right leg and arm.[1] He was educated at Meiji University, where he was a member of the film study circle.[1] He entered the Shōchiku studios in 1938 and served as an assistant director under Minoru Shibuya and Keisuke Kinoshita before directing his first film, Kaette kita otoko, in 1944.[2] At Shōchiku after the war, he made many comedies before switching to Nikkatsu in 1955, when the studio resumed film production.[3] There he made such notable works as Ai no onimotsu (1955), Suzaki paradise: Akashingō (1956), and Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate (1957), which was later voted the fifth best Japanese film of all time in Kinema Junpō's poll of 140 film critics and filmmakers in 1999.[4] In his remaining years, Kawashima worked at multiple studios—Daiei, Tokyo Eiga, and Toho— continuing to create satirical works like Gurama-tō no yūwaku (1959), Kashima ari (1959), and Shitoyakana kedamono (1962), as well as literary adaptations like Onna wa nido umareru (1961) and Gan no tera (1962).

Like many Japanese directors of the period, Kawashima was very prolific, completing 51 films during a career that only lasted 19 years. He died suddenly in 1963 of cor pulmonale.[1] His grave in Mutsu bears one of the lines from Kashima ari: "Saying goodbye is all life is" (Sayonara dake ga jinsei da).[1]


He was a key influence on Shohei Imamura, who worked as his assistant director and referred to him as "my teacher." Imamura later remade Kawashima's 1957 film Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate as Eijanaika.

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Yamane, Sadao (1997). "Kawashima Yūzō". Nihon eiga jinmei jiten: Kantoku hen. Kinema Junpō. pp. 243–245. ISBN 4-87376-208-1.
  2. ^ "Eiga kantoku Kawashima Yūzō". National Film Center. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  3. ^ "Kawashima Yūzō". Nihon jinmei daijiten+Plus. Kōdansha. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  4. ^ "Hōga ōrutaimu besuto 100". My Cinema Theater. Retrieved 10 September 2011.

External linksEdit