Juzo Itami

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Juzo Itami : biography

1933-5-15 – 20 December 1997

Filmography

Actor

  • Ten Dark Women (1961)
  • 55 Days at Peking (1963)
  • Lord Jim (1965)
  • Sing a Song of Sex (1967)
  • Heat Wave Island (1969)
  • Lady Snowblood (1973)
  • Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)
  • Grass Labyrinth (1979)
  • The Family Game (1983) – father
  • The Makioka Sisters (1983)
  • The Excitement of the Do-Re-Mi-Fa Girl (1985)http://www.fandango.com/theexcitementofthedoremifagirl_v180373/summary
  • Sweet Home (1989)

As director

  • The Funeral (1984)
  • Tampopo (1985)
  • A Taxing Woman (1987)
  • A Taxing Woman’s Return (1988)
  • Tales of a Golden Geisha (1990)
  • Minbo (1992)
  • Daibyonin (1993)
  • Shizuka na Seikatsu (A Quiet Life) (1995)
  • Supermarket Woman (1996)
  • Marutai no Onna ("Woman in Witness Protection") (1997)

Awards

  • 1985 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year – The Funeral
  • 1988 Japan Academy Prize for Director of the Year – A Taxing Woman

Acting career

Itami studied acting at an acting school called Budai Geijutsu Gakuin in Tokyo. In January 1960 he joined Daiei Film and was given the stage name by Masaichi Nagata. In May 1960, Itami married Kazuko Kawakita, the daughter of film producer Nagamasa Kawakita. He first acted on screen in Ginza no Dora-Neko (1960). In 1961 he left Daiei and started to appear in foreign-language films such as 55 Days at Peking. In 1965 he appeared in the big-budget Anglo-American film Lord Jim. In 1965 he published a book of essays which became a hit, Yoroppa Taikutsu Nikki ("Diary of boredom in Europe"). In 1966 he and Kazuko agreed to divorce.

In 1967, when working with Nagisa Oshima on a film Sing a Song of Sex (Nihon Shunka Kō) he met Nobuko Miyamoto. He and Miyamoto married in 1969. Around this time, he changed his stage name to "伊丹 十三" (Itami Jūzō) with the kanji "十" (ten) rather than "一" (one), and worked as a character actor in film and television.

In the 1970s, he joined the TV Man Union television production company and produced and presented documentaries for television, which influenced his later career as a film director. He also worked as a reporter for a TV programme called Afternoon Show.

In 1983, Itami played the father in Yoshimitsu Morita’s The Family Game, and The Makioka Sisters for which roles he won the Yokohama Film Festival and Hochi Film Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Tributes

His brother in law and childhood friend Kenzaburo Oe wrote The Changeling (2000) which modeled their relationship.