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Hiroshi Teshigahara

Hiroshi Teshigahara

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Also Known As: Died: April 14, 2001
Born: January 28, 1927 Cause of Death: leukemia
Birth Place: Japan Profession: director, screenwriter, documentarian, film critic, director of photography, editor, artist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Although primarily noted in the West as a filmmaker, Hiroshi Teshigahara was also a celebrated ceramist, artist and self-described "bamboo instalationist" in his native Japan. His father, Sofu Teshigahara, was the founder of the noted Sogetsu School of Ikebana (flower arranging), a man who passed along his artistic sensibilities to his two children. While his daughter was the first to succeed him as the head of the Sogetsu School, his son eventually would hold the position as well, but not before making his own mark on world cinema.Teshigahara attended Tokyo University of Fine Art in 1950 and within three years was working in film, directing a documentary about woodblock artist Hokusai. He would simultaneously pursue dual careers as an artist and movie maker, achieving success in both areas. Perhaps inspired by his own father, in 1958 Teshigahara founded the Sogetsu Art Center, which became one of the centerpieces for Japan's avant-garde for some two decades. Continuing to experiment with motion pictures, he directed a second documentary, this time on NYC-based boxed Jose Torres in 1959. (He later filmed a second profile of the fighter in 1965.)As the 60s dawned, Teshigahara moved into feature...

Although primarily noted in the West as a filmmaker, Hiroshi Teshigahara was also a celebrated ceramist, artist and self-described "bamboo instalationist" in his native Japan. His father, Sofu Teshigahara, was the founder of the noted Sogetsu School of Ikebana (flower arranging), a man who passed along his artistic sensibilities to his two children. While his daughter was the first to succeed him as the head of the Sogetsu School, his son eventually would hold the position as well, but not before making his own mark on world cinema.

Teshigahara attended Tokyo University of Fine Art in 1950 and within three years was working in film, directing a documentary about woodblock artist Hokusai. He would simultaneously pursue dual careers as an artist and movie maker, achieving success in both areas. Perhaps inspired by his own father, in 1958 Teshigahara founded the Sogetsu Art Center, which became one of the centerpieces for Japan's avant-garde for some two decades. Continuing to experiment with motion pictures, he directed a second documentary, this time on NYC-based boxed Jose Torres in 1959. (He later filmed a second profile of the fighter in 1965.)

As the 60s dawned, Teshigahara moved into feature filmmaking with the well-received drama "Otoshi Ana/Pitfall" (1962), which initiated his collaboration with novelist-turned screenwriter Kobo Abe. The pair's second film, an adaptation of Abe's novel "Suna no Onna/Woman in the Dunes" (1964), is arguably their masterpiece. A haunting allegory filled with erotic imagery, "Woman in the Dunes" microscopically examined the odd relationship between an entomologist who becomes the prisoner of a woman trapped in a sandpit. After earning a prize at the Cannes Film Festival, the film went on to be nominated for the 1964 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and in a surprising development, Teshigahara became the first Asian filmmaker to receive a Best Director Oscar nomination in 1965, after the picture had received a wide release in the USA.

Throughout the 1960s, he and Abe continued to collaborate, turning out such acclaimed efforts as "Tanin no Kao/The Face of Another" (1966) and "Moetsukita Chizu/The Ruined Map" (1968). Teshigahara's worldwide reputation was on the rise and he became almost an unofficial ambassador for the Japanese film industry. When his culture clash drama about US soldiers stationed in Japan who desert rather than face being sent to Vietnam opened in 1972, though, the material was too close to home for American critics who either ignored the film's potent themes or dismissed them. At that point, the director left film to concentrate on his art, founding the Sogetsu Ceramic Kiln in Miyazaki Mura in 1973. For much of the next decade and a half, Teshigahara exhibited his art work (including ceramics, bamboo installations, and paintings throughout the world, but mostly in Japan. By 1980, he had succeeded his late father and his late sister as the head of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, going on to create numerous garden installations as well.

Although he had made a 1985 documentary about Spanish avant-garde architect Antonio Gaudi, Teshigahara did not make a fictional feature until 1989, when he wrote and directed "Rikyu", about the conflict between a Buddhist monk who specialized in the ancient art of the tea ceremony and a warlord who was planning aggressive action against China. He would make only one more feature, 1992's lavish epic "Goh-hime/Basara: Princess Goh" which revisited some of the same themes as "Rikyu". Whether in arranging flowers or crafting ceramics or making movies, Teshigahara had one goal: to reinvent traditional Japanese culture. One can easily say he was more than successful in that endeavor.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Basara: Princess Goh (1992) Director
2.
  Rikyu (1989) Director
3.
  Antonio Gaudi (1986) Director
4.
  Summer Soldiers (1971) Director
5.
  The Face of Another (1967) Director
6.
  Woman in the Dunes (1964) Director

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1953:
First film, a documentary about artist Hokusai
1958:
Formed the Sogetsu Art Center
1959:
Directed second documentary "Jose Torres", profiling a NYC-based boxer; first collaboration with composer Toru Takemitsu
1962:
Feature directorial debut, "Otoshiana/Pitfall", written by frequent collaborator Kobo Abe
1964:
Breakthrough feature film, "Woman in the Dunes", adapted by Abe from his novel; became first Asian director to be nominated for a Best Director Academy Award in 1965
1966:
Helmed "Tanin no Kao/The Face of Another", also written by Abe
1965:
Made a second documentary about boxer Jose Torres
1968:
Directed "Moetsukita Chizu/The Ruined Map", also adapted by Abe from his novel
1971:
Last fictional film for 18 years, "Natsu no Heiti/Summer Soldiers"
1973:
Founded the Sogetsu Ceramic Kiln at Miyazaki, Fukui Prefecture
1980:
Assumed the leadership of the Sogetsu School of Ikabana
1981:
Had one-man showing of his sculpture in Paris
:
During the 1980s, designed various garden installations
1984:
Made documentary film about artist "Antonio Gaudi"
1987:
Had one-man exhibition in Tokyo
1989:
Returned to feature filmmaking with "Rikyu"
1992:
Executive produced, wrote and directed final film, "Basara: Princess Goh"
1992:
Created a stage installation of "Turandot" for the Lyon Opera
1994:
Was involved with the city of Nagano's performance at the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer
1996:
Created a large-scale bamboo sculpture exhibited at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music: - 1950

Notes

In 1992, he was awarded the Order of the Purple Cordon by the Japanese government.

Tashigahara was elevated to the rank of Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1996.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Toshiko Kobayishi. Actor.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Sofu Teshigahara. Founded the Sogetsu School of Ikebana.
daughter:
Kiri Teshigahara.
daughter:
Akane Teshigahara.

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