Kon Ichikawa


Director

About

Also Known As
Shitei Kuri
Birth Place
Japan
Born
November 25, 1915
Died
February 13, 2008
Cause of Death
Pneumonia

Biography

Influenced by artists as diverse as Walt Disney and Jean Renoir, Kon Ichikawa's films cover a wide spectrum of moods, from the comic to the overwhelmingly ironic and even the perverse. Ichikawa began his career as a cartoonist, and this influence is apparent in his skillful use of the widescreen, and in the strong, angular patterns seen in many of his compositions. He has also directed "...

Family & Companions

Natto Wada
Wife
Screenwriter. Married in 1948.

Biography

Influenced by artists as diverse as Walt Disney and Jean Renoir, Kon Ichikawa's films cover a wide spectrum of moods, from the comic to the overwhelmingly ironic and even the perverse. Ichikawa began his career as a cartoonist, and this influence is apparent in his skillful use of the widescreen, and in the strong, angular patterns seen in many of his compositions. He has also directed "Pu-san" (1953), a popular film based on Junichiro Yokoyama's "Mr. Pu" comic strip. At various points in his career, Ichikawa has shown that he is capable of appealing to a popular audience without compromising his artistry.

A great visual stylist and perfectionist, Ichikawa excels at screen adaptations of literary masterpieces, including Soseki Natsume's "The Heart" (1954), Yukio Mishima's "Conflagration" (1959), Junichiro Tanizaki's "Odd Obsession" (1959) and "I Am a Cat" (1975) and Toson Shimazaki's "The Outcast" (1961). He has also remade film classics, such as Yutaka Abe's "The Woman Who Touched Legs" (1952) and Teinosuke Kinugasa's "An Actor's Revenge" (1963), transposing them to contemporary settings.

The West was first introduced to Ichikawa when his "The Burmese Harp" (1956) won the San Giorgio Prize at the 1956 Venice Film Festival. This film and his later "Fires on the Plain" (1959) stand as two of the eloquent and wrenching anti-war films ever made. His epic documentary on the 1964 Tokyo Olympiad (released the following year) and "Alone on the Pacific" (1963) explore, with dignity and imagination, the limits of human endurance. He has also worked in the thriller genre, with "The Pit" (1957), "The Inugamis "(1976) and "Island of Horrors" (1977).

Ichikawa tends to present strongly etched, complex characters: the stuttering acolyte who desires to preserve the "purity" of the Golden Pavilion ("Enjo"), the elderly husband who resorts to injections and voyeurism in order to remain sexually active ("Kagi"), the member of a pariah class who tries to deny his identity and to "pass" in regular society ("Hakai"). More recently, "Film Actress" (1987) is a tribute to the fiercely independent Japanese actress Kinuyo Tanaka, who starred in many of Kenji Mizoguchi's films and was herself a director in later life.

On the lighter side, Ichikawa's characters also include a 19th-century cat; a good-hearted, hapless teacher; and a baby who narrates how the world looks from his vantage point. He is especially adept at mixing comedy and tragedy within the same story. Until 1965, Ichikawa's close collaborator was his wife, screenwriter Natto Wada, with whose assistance he produced most of his finest films.

Filmography

 

Director (Feature Film)

Ten Nights of Dreams (2007)
Director
Inugamike No Ichizoku (2006)
Director
Kah-Chan (2001)
Director
Dora-Heita (2000)
Director
47 Ronin (1994)
Director
Fusa (1993)
Director
Tenkawa Densetsu Satsujin Jiken (1991)
Director
Crane (1988)
Director
Eiga Joyu (1987)
Director
Princess from the Moon (1987)
Director
Rokumeikan (1986)
Director
Ohan (1985)
Director
The Makioka Sisters (1983)
Director
Kofuku (1982)
Director
Hi no tori (1980)
Director
Koto (1980)
Director
Jo-bachi (1978)
Director
Akuma no temariuta (1977)
Director
Gokumonto (1977)
Director
Tsuma to onna no aida (1976)
Director
Inugami-ke no ichizoku (1976)
Director
Wagahai wa neko de aru (1975)
Director
Matatabi (1973)
Director
Visions of Eight (1973)
Director
Ai futatabi (1971)
Director
The Burmese Harp (1967)
Director
Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
Director of Japanese version
My Enemy, the Sea (1964)
Director
An Actor's Revenge (1963)
Director
Fires on the Plain (1962)
Director
Being Two Isn't Easy (1962)
Director
The Sin (1961)
Director
Bonchi (1960)
Director
Her Brother (1960)
Director
Odd Obsession (1959)
Director
Sayonara, Konnichiwa (1959)
Director
Conflagration (1958)
Director
Punishment Room (1956)
Director
The Burmese Harp (1956)
Director
Bridge of Japan (1956)
Director
Seishun kaidan (1955)
Director
A Billionaire (1954)
Director
Watashi no subete o (1954)
Director
Rakkii-san (1952)
Director
Ano te kono te (1952)
Director

Cast (Feature Film)

Kurosawa (2001)

Writer (Feature Film)

Inugamike No Ichizoku (2006)
Screenplay
47 Ronin (1994)
Screenwriter
Fusa (1993)
Screenwriter
Crane (1988)
Writer
Eiga Joyu (1987)
Screenplay
Princess from the Moon (1987)
Screenplay
Ohan (1985)
Screenwriter
The Makioka Sisters (1983)
Screenwriter
Kofuku (1982)
Screenwriter
Hi no tori (1980)
Screenwriter
Koto (1980)
Screenwriter
Jo-bachi (1978)
Screenwriter
Gokumonto (1977)
Screenwriter
Akuma no temariuta (1977)
Screenwriter
Inugami-ke no ichizoku (1976)
Screenwriter
Matatabi (1973)
Screenwriter
Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
Screenplay for Japanese version
Bonchi (1960)
Screenwriter
Odd Obsession (1959)
Screenwriter
Sayonara, Konnichiwa (1959)
Screenwriter
A Billionaire (1954)
Screenwriter
Watashi no subete o (1954)
Screenwriter
Ano te kono te (1952)
Screenwriter

Producer (Feature Film)

Eiga Joyu (1987)
Producer
Ohan (1985)
Producer
Matatabi (1973)
Producer
Dodes'ka-Den (1971)
Producer
Being Two Isn't Easy (1962)
Producer

Editing (Feature Film)

Fires on the Plain (1962)
Film Editor
Odd Obsession (1959)
Film Editor

Film Production - Main (Feature Film)

The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1989)
Associate Director

Cast (Special)

Kurosawa (2002)
Interviewee

Life Events

Videos

Movie Clip

Odd Obsession (1959) -- (Movie Clip) It Feels Dark Inside Kenmochi (Ganjiro Nakamura), who thinks no one knows about his regimen of virility treatments, encounters their maid, then his much younger wife Ikuko (Machiko Kyo), then their daughter (Junko Kano), who’s kind of engaged to his doctor, in Kon Ichikawa’s provocative Odd Obsession, 1959.
Odd Obsession (1959) -- (Movie Clip) Jealousy Makes Me Feel Much Younger Only Kenmochi (Ganjiro Nakamura) knows what he’s up to, having gotten his wife (Machiko Kyo) drunk at dinner, exposing her to handsome family friend Kimura (Tatsuya) Nakadai, who’s somewhat involved with his daughter (Junko Kano), all in order to arouse his own passion, in Kon Ichikawa’s Odd Obsession, 1959.
Odd Obsession (1959) -- (Movie Clip) He Is Not A Complete Stranger To Me Director and co-screenwriter Kon Ichikawa’s clever opening, Tatsuya Nakadai as young doctor Kimura, first addressing the camera, then tending to somewhat aged patient Kenmochi (Ganjiro Nakamura), who apparently has virility issues, in Odd Obsession, 1959.
Burmese Harp, The (1956) -- (Movie Clip) A Coward Like You... Mizushima (Shoji Yasui) tries to persuade a holdout garrison led by Tatsuya Miyashi to surrender as British troops are poised to attack in Kon Ichikawa's The Burmese Harp, 1956.
Burmese Harp, The (1956) -- (Movie Clip) Mizushima Japanese soldier Mizushima (Shoji Yasui), wearing stolen robes, falters in his escape attempt until he's saved by friendly Burmese farmers in Kon Ichikawa's The Burmese Harp, 1956.
Burmese Harp, The (1956) -- (Movie Clip) Opening, Soil of Burma Opening title credits for director Kon Ichikawa's original The Burmese Harp, 1956, followed by opening narration by Rentaro Mikuni, who plays "Captain Inouye."
Dodes 'Ka-Den -- (Movie Clip) Please Dear Buddha Opening scene, Roku-chan (Yoshitaka Zushi), who dreams of being a conductor, with his mother (Kin Sugai), their Tokyo slum dwelling decorated with streetcar drawings director Akira Kurosawa solicited from Japanese kids, in Dodes 'Ka-Den, 1970.
Dodes 'Ka-Den -- (Movie Clip) If We Become Weak The old man (Kamatari Fujiwara) ventures out into the slum, gets heckled, as the beggar (Noboru Mitsutahi) offers his first philosophical commentary for his son (Hiroyuki Kawase), director Akira Kurosawa shooting on location in a Tokyo dump, in Dodes 'Ka-Den, 1970.

Companions

Natto Wada
Wife
Screenwriter. Married in 1948.

Bibliography