Famous People in Japan

Imamura Shohei

Date of Birth September 15, 1926
Place of Birth Otsuka, Tokyo

Imamura Shohei is one of the famous film directors in Japan. He is graduated from Waseda University and then, in 1951, joined the film company SHOCHIKU CO, LTD, in 1951. He made his debut as a director with Nusumareta yokujo (1958, Stolen Desire).

Imamura has portrayed in his works the energy of common people, a preoccupation that is substantial in Buta to gunkan (1961, Pig and Battleship) which showed his reputation as a director.

Nippon konchuki (1963) and Akai satsui (1963) are representative of Imamura's brand of realism with its heavy reliance on location shooting. In both films he presents the life of lower-class, uneducated women forced to rely on their sexual instincts for survival.

Imamura begins all his projects with thorough research. His first documentary, Ningen johatsu (1967) about a woman's search for her missing fiance made the process of research itself the focus of the film.

After this work, he directed a series of television documentaries on the plight of expatriate prostitutes and soldiers abandoned overseas after The Second World War.

His films include Fukusyu suru wa ware ni ari (1979,Vengeance Is Mine), Narayama-bushi ko (The ballad of Narayama), Kuroi ame (1989, Black Rain) and Unagi (1997, An eel).

Narayama-bushi ko and Unagi took the Cannes Films Festival Prize. He is the only one who is awarded twice this prize as Japanese.

References: Gendai Nihonjin Meiroku "Contemporary WHO's WHO in Japan vol.1" 1987; Nichigai Associates, Inc, Japan

Eibun Nippon Dai Jiten "JAPAN, All Illustrated Encyclopedia" 1993, Kodan Sha, Japan

Reported by: Miyuki Suzuki
Date of Report: December 1997

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