An Affiliate of the
Federation of International Film Archives
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 Hodoh (gStreet Without Endh directed by Mikio Naruse in 1934) and gShukujowa Nanio Wasuretakah (gWhat Did the Lady Forgeth directed by Yasujiro Ozu in 1937), Shibuya made his debut as a feature film director with gOkusamani Shirasubekarazuh (gDonft Tell Your Wifeh 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 Koh (gMother and Childh 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 Joueng ( gFlaming Desiresh 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 Gakkoh (gFree Schoolh 1951), gTenyawanyah (gCrazy Uproarh 1950) and gHonjitsu Kyushinh (gDoctorfs Day-Offh 1952) to where he became known as one of gShochikufs Three Great Master Film Directorsh 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 gGendaijinh (gThe Modernsh 1952) and gSeigihah (gRighteousnessh 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.