AW: Keisuke Kinoshita and sexuality

Roland Domenig roland.domenig
Sun Dec 24 07:43:13 EST 2006

One of Kinoshita's former assistant directors at a party once provided insights into Kinoshita's professional as well as private life inclucing the sleeping arrangements when they were shooting on location. According to him Kinoshita's homosexuality was an open secret. 
By the way, in the early 1970s there were plans that Kinoshita directs a film with ATG that would provide him the opportunity for a coming out. It was part of a greater scheme of ATG (or better Kuzui Kinshiro) to make a film with each director of the so called Yonki no kai, the group Kurosawa Akira, Kinoshita Keisuke, Ichikawa Kon and Kobayashi Masaki formed in 1969. Ichikawa Kon's "Matatabi" was the only film that was actually made with ATG. Kurosawa's project had already passed the ATG planing committee, but was never realised (presumably because of the very low ATG-budget). Kuzui and Kinoshita had worked on a film treatment, but the project was also not further pursued. According to Kuzui the idea involved a homosexual character who would have been unthinkable at Shochiku.   

Roland Domenig
Institute of East Asian Studies
Vienna University

-----Urspr?ngliche Nachricht-----
Von: owner-KineJapan at im Auftrag von Alexander Jacoby
Gesendet: So 24.12.2006 00:21
An: KineJapan at
Betreff: Keisuke Kinoshita and sexuality
Dear All,

First, Merry Christmas to everyone on the list.

I don't normally pose queries about dead directors' personal lives, but I wonder if anyone can answer the following. While watching the 1948 Kinoshita version of Hakai / The Outcast / The Sin / The Broken Commandment, I was struck by the sexual undercurrents between the burakumin hero and his friend. For instance, they walk hand in hand to the school when the hero has to confront the hostile staff. These undercurrents did not surprise me, since from various Japanese cinephile friends I understood it to be a matter of record in Japan that Kinoshita was gay.

However, some people who ought to know have cast doubt on that and suggested that it was only supposition. I know Kinoshita was never "out", but I'd like to know whether it's a generally accepted fact in Japan that he was actually homosexual, or just an assumption that people have derived from the mere fact that he never married, say, or from the slightly "feminine" qualities of his films.

The reason I ask is because, writing on Kinoshita, I wanted to comment that his sexuality may have stimulated a general sympathy with outsiders. Burakumin status, being an invisible deviation from the norm, would seem to be particularly akin to homosexuality in the sense of being easy to conceal from those one doesn't wish to know. However, I don't want to make this comment unless it's definitely a matter of record, not an assumption, that Kinoshita was gay. Therefore, can anyone confirm the situation?


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