Yoshimura Kosaburo

Aaron Gerow gerow
Thu Nov 9 03:53:14 EST 2000

This is a bit late, but the director Yoshimura Kosaburo (aka Kimisaburo) 
died on Tuesday morning (the 7th) of heart failure.  He was 89.

Yoshimura entered Shochiku in 1929 and worked as an assistant director 
for Shimazu Yasujiro before coming to fame as a director with the 1939 
masterpiece Danryu.  His Anjo-ke no butokai (1947) is one of the best 
films of the Occupation era, but in 1950, with his leftist politics, he 
departed Shochiku with Shindo Kaneto to form the Kindai Eiga Kyokai.  He 
was thus an important member of the postwar indepedent movement 
(Yoakemae, Ashizuri Misaki), though he often worked as a contract 
director for Daiei and other studios (Genji monogatari, Yoru no kawa).  
His depictions of women struggling to live were particularly noted.  In 
his later years, he wrote several books, including some on his film years 
like Kinema no jidai.

I remember him best for his visit to Asagaya Eigamura in about 1993.  A 
very personable and witty speaker, he really tried to emphasize how vital 
prewar modernism was in the movies.  I particularly recall him telling 
the mostly young audience that the wartime was not all that gloomy, and 
that films like Utau tanki goten (1943) could be made because that kind 
of bright modernism was still present in Japanese society.  I think his 
early films particularly represent that perspective in valuable and 
enjoyable ways.

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
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