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An Affiliate of the
Federation of International Film Archives
since 2004
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PROFILE ON THE LATE JAPANESE FILM DIRECTOR
MINORU SHIBUYA




Born in Tokyo in Asakusa in 1907, Minoru Shibuya became interested in motion pictures while studying English Literature at Keio University. As a result, he would find himself make frequent visits to the Shochiku Kamata Film Studio. Shibuya became an apprentice to film director Kiyohiko Ushihara and ultimately was hired by the film studio in 1930 as an assistant director. After working on such films as gKagirinaki Hodoh (gStreet Without Endh directed by Mikio Naruse in 1934) and gShukujowa Nanio Wasuretakah (gWhat Did the Lady Forgeth directed by Yasujiro Ozu in 1937), Shibuya made his debut as a feature film director with gOkusamani Shirasubekarazuh (gDonft Tell Your Wifeh 1937). Making films with a dry touch different from what the Shochiku Film Studio made at the time, he became known as one of the promising new film directors along with Kozaburo Yoshimura and Kenkichi Hara. In particular gHaha to Koh (gMother and Childh 1938) was extremely well received. Drafted into the military in 1943, he was sent to the Chinese mainland and eventually saw the conclusion of the Pacific War in Canton.

His first post-war film was g Joueng ( gFlaming Desiresh 1947), a film where he changed the script and had a confrontation with the scriptwriter. He would then be known as a film director who caused trouble by arguing with scriptwriters by changing the script. However his comical yet critical portrayal of post-war Japanese customs were highly rated in such films as gJiyuu Gakkoh (gFree Schoolh 1951), gTenyawanyah (gCrazy Uproarh 1950) and gHonjitsu Kyushinh (gDoctorfs Day-Offh 1952) to where he became known as one of gShochikufs Three Great Master Film Directorsh along with Yasujiro Ozu and Keisuke Kinoshita. He played a precious role in the Japanese film industry where comedy was not strong. However his social critique through hard-headed human observation in such films as gGendaijinh (gThe Modernsh 1952) and gSeigihah (gRighteousnessh 1957) have been well received. Minoru Shibuya passed away in 1980. The fact that Yuzo Kawashima, one of his disciples, became known for films with a similar style as Shibuya is a fact that has drawn attention among film fans.

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