Nisha Rathode (Editor)

Masaki Kobayashi

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Masaki Kobayashi

Film director

Masaki Kobayashi ilargelisimgcomimage4771756740fullmasakikob

February 14, 1916 (
Otaru, Japan

Film director, producer, writer

October 4, 1996, Setagaya, Tokyo City, Tokyo, Japan

Cannes Jury Prize, Sutherland Trophy

Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Harakiri, Kwaidan, Samurai Rebellion, Black River, No Greater Love

Similar People
Tatsuya Nakadai, Michiyo Aratama, Keisuke Kinoshita, Rentaro Mikuni, Toshiro Mifune

The Human Condition - Masaki Kobayashi Interview (English subtitles)

Masaki Kobayashi (小林 正樹, Kobayashi Masaki, February 14, 1916 – October 4, 1996) was a Japanese film director, best known for the epic trilogy The Human Condition (1959–1961), the samurai film Seppuku (1962), and Ghost Stories (1964).



Kobayashi was a second cousin of the actress and director Kinuyo Tanaka.

Early life

Kobayashi studied ancient oriental arts and philosophy. Kobayashi embarked on a career in film in 1941 when he entered Shochiku Studios as an apprentice director, but his career was almost immediately interrupted when he was drafted into the army and sent to Manchuria.

Kobayashi regarded himself as a pacifist. His way of resisting was to refuse promotion to a rank higher than private. He spent time as a prisoner of war in an Okinawa camp. After his release, in 1946, he returned to Shochiku as assistant to the director Keisuke Kinoshita.


Kobayashi's directorial debut was in 1952 when he made Musuko no Seishun (My Son's Youth).

From 1959 to 1961, Kobayashi directed The Human Condition (1959–1961), a trilogy on the effects of World War II on a Japanese pacifist and socialist. The total length of the films is almost ten hours, and one of the longest fiction films ever made.

In 1962 he directed Harakiri, which won the Jury Prize at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival.

In 1964, Kobayashi made Kwaidan (1964), his first color film, a collection of four ghost stories drawn from books by Lafcadio Hearn. Kwaidan won the Special Jury Prize at the 1965 Cannes Film Festival, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.

In 1968, Akira Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita, Kon Ichikawa and Kobayashi founded the directors group, Shiki no kai-The Four Horsemen Club, in an attempt to create movies for younger generations.

In 1969, he was a member of the jury at the 19th Berlin International Film Festival.

He was also a candidate for directing the Japanese sequences for Tora! Tora! Tora! after Akira Kurosawa left the film. But instead Kinji Fukasaku and Toshio Masuda were chosen.

One of his grand projects was a film on Yasushi Inoue's novel about Buddhist China, Tun Huang, which never came to fruition.


  • 1952: My Sons' Youth (Musuko no seishun)
  • 1953: Sincerity (Magokoro)
  • 1953: The Thick-Walled Room (Kabe atsuki heya) (completed in 1953, but not released until 1956)
  • 1954: Three Loves (Mittsu no ai)
  • 1954: Somewhere Beneath the Wide Sky (Kono hiroi sora no dokoka ni)
  • 1955: Beautiful Days (Uruwashiki saigetsu)
  • 1956: Fountainhead aka The Spring (Izumi)
  • 1956 I'll Buy You (Anata kaimasu)
  • 1957: Black River (Kuroi kawa)
  • 1959–1961: The Human Condition trilogy (Ningen no jōken)
  • 1959: No Greater Love
  • 1959: Road to Eternity
  • 1961: A Soldier's Prayer
  • 1962: The Inheritance (Karami-ai)
  • 1962: Harakiri (Seppuku)
  • 1964: Kwaidan
  • 1967: Samurai Rebellion (Jōi-uchi: Hairyō-tsuma shimatsu)
  • 1968: Hymn to a Tired Man (Nihon no seishun)
  • 1971: Inn of Evil (Inochi bō ni furō)
  • 1975: The Fossil (Kaseki)
  • 1979: Glowing Autumn (Moeru aki)
  • 1983: Tokyo Trial (Tōkyō saiban)
  • 1985: Family Without a Dinner Table aka The Empty Table (Shokutaku no nai ie)
  • References

    Masaki Kobayashi Wikipedia

    Similar Topics