[KineJapan] Morisaki Azuma has passed away

Luke Cromer lukestephencromer at gmail.com
Mon Jul 20 20:26:48 EDT 2020

Thank you for sharing this. I recall the NHK documentary in 2013 revealing
that Morisaki's memory was deteriorating during production of his last film
(Pecoross), and it is sad to learn of his passing now.

And thank you Roger for reminding us of this report. It was written when I
was a research student before commencing a master's degree at Waseda. The
piece evolved from spending a lot of time with graduate students in Fujii
Jinshi's course who put me onto Morisaki and Fujii's book. They knew that I
was researching for a thesis on Kawashima Yuzo, and almost demanded that I
write something on Morisaki if I was interested in somewhat outsider or
rogue filmmakers. As Aaron has pointed out, Morisaki was concerned with
marginalised and minority groups, with connections to Okinawa that of
course adds further layers to his films. The last of the Shochiku rebels?
Indeed Nuclear Gypsies (I never came across the English title back then),
is one to watch and a film that I continue to think about whenever hearing
of the continued nuclear problems in Japan. I'm sure we will begin to see
some retrospective screenings for those fortunate to be in Japan, and
probably more DVD releases.


Luke Cromer
PhD Candidate and Sessional Tutor
Department of Japanese Studies
School of Languages and Cultures

*The University of Sydney *

On Fri, Jul 17, 2020 at 5:17 PM Roger Macy via KineJapan <
kinejapan at mailman.yale.edu> wrote:

> * Thanks for this, Matteo and Aaron. I expect Fujii included this but can
> I just add that there was a substantial Kinema Club Conference Report by
> Luke CROMER, November 2013. ‘Morisaki Azuma’s Postwar: A Talk with Yamane
> Sadao, Ueno Kōshi and Fujii Jinshi’
> https://kinemaclub.org/conference-report/morisaki-azuma-s-postwar-talk-yamane-sadao-ueno-k-shi-and-fujii-jinshi
> <https://kinemaclub.org/conference-report/morisaki-azuma-s-postwar-talk-yamane-sadao-ueno-k-shi-and-fujii-jinshi>Roger
> *
> *From:* Gerow Aaron via KineJapan <kinejapan at mailman.yale.edu>
> *To:* Japanese Cinema Discussion Forum <kinejapan at mailman.yale.edu>
> *Cc:* Gerow Aaron <aaron.gerow at yale.edu>
> *Sent:* Friday, 17 July 2020, 06:07:33 BST
> *Subject:* Re: [KineJapan] Morisaki Azuma has passed away
> Sad to hear of Morisaki’s death. His comedies were different from
> Yamada’s, even though they worked together for a time. He tended to focus
> on marginal, nomadic, and sometime multi-ethnic communities, in a satirical
> sometimes acerbic way. He is definitely one Japanese director virtually
> unknown abroad whose work deserves far more attention.
> Fujii Jinshi edited this critical anthology on Morisaki’s work, which is a
> good place to start:
> Morisaki Azuma
> -tō sengen
> http://hdl.handle.net/10079/bibid/11912416
> Aaron Gerow
> Professor
> Film and Media Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
> Chair, East Asian Languages and Literatures
> Yale University
> 143 Elm Street, Room 210
> PO Box 208324
> New Haven, CT 06520-8324
> Phone: 1-203-432-7082
> Fax: 1-203-432-6729
> e-mail: aaron.gerow at yale.edu
> website: www.aarongerow.com
> On Friday, 17 July 2020, 05:26:03 BST, matteo boscarol via KineJapan <
> kinejapan at mailman.yale.edu> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
> It was reported today that director and screenwriter Morisaki Azuma has
> passed away, he was 92.
> Born in 1927 he joined Shochiku in 1956, first working as an assistant
> director for Nomura Yoshitarō and  Yamada Yōji. His first work as a
> screenwriter was for Yamada’s なつかしい風来坊 The Lovable Tramp in 1966 (not the
> Tora-san one), a nice comedy with undertones of seriousness and satire,
> with Baishō Chieko and Hana Hajime. In the same year he wrote or co-wrote
> the script for other 3 movies and in the second half of the 60s while
> continuing to write, always for Shōchiku, he had his debut behind the
> camera with 喜劇 女は度胸   Women Can’t be Beaten (1969) with Baishō Mitsuko
> (Chieko’s sister) and Atsumi Kiyoshi, from an original idea by Yamada
> himself. In 1969 he co-wrote with Yamada the first Tora-san 男はつらいよ and the
> following year Morisaki directed one of the only two films in the entire
> series not directed by Yamada, 男はつらいよ フーテンの寅.
> He’s relatively known for Nuclear Gypsies 生きてるうちが花なのよ死んだらそれまでよ党宣言 (1985),
> one of the best titles ever and a underseen masterpiece, for Location
> ロケーション (1984), the fictionalized adaptation of photographer Tsuda Ichirō’s
> book ザロケーション, about his experiences on pink eiga sets, and more recently
> for the touching and funny Pecoross' Mother and Her Days ペコロスの母に会いに行く
> (2013).
> Matteo Boscarol
> 記憶ただ陽炎のゆらめき
> Asian Docs
> - Documentary in Japan and Asia
> http://storiadocgiappone.wordpress.com
> - Film writer for Il Manifesto
> http://ilmanifesto.it
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