- Kobayashi, Masaki
▪ 1997Japanese film director (b. Feb. 14, 1916, Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan—d. Oct. 4, 1996, Tokyo, Japan), created exquisitely stylized motion pictures known for their harsh critiques of Japanese society and portrayals of dissident individuals. Though he was opposed to Japan's involvement in World War II, Kobayashi was drafted into the military in 1942 and spent the last year of the war as a prisoner on Okinawa. Released in 1946, he returned to Tokyo and served as an apprentice director with the Shochiku Motion Picture Co. He made his directorial debut in 1952 with Musuko no seishun (1952; My Son's Youth), followed by Kabe atsuki heya (1953; The Thick-Walled Room) and Anata kaimasu (1956; I'll Buy You). Kobayashi's epic trilogy, Ningen no joken (1959-61; The Human Condition), was the best example of his cinema of social concern and a powerful indictment of the brutality inherent in a militaristic society. The trilogy established Kobayashi's reputation as a major director. He attracted wider admiration with Seppuku (1962; Harakiri), which attacked the moral code of the samurai, and Kaidan (1964; Kwaidan), a quartet of fantastic ghost stories; each movie won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Later films include Kaseki (1974; Fossil), Tokyo saiban (1983; The Tokyo Trials), and Shokutaku no nai ie (1985; The Empty Table).
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