Kudo Eiichi (工藤栄一)

Eiichi KUDO (real name)
He was a film director (July 17, 1929 - September 23, 2000). He was born in Tomakomai City, Hokkaido Prefecture. His younger brothers were Kazuo KUDO, a stage scenery designer who won the Nissay Backstage Award, and Akio KUDO, who was a Japan Olympic field hockey team athlete. He was the eldest of eight brothers.


He studied at Hokkaido Prefectural Tomakomai Junior High School (present-day Hokkaido Prefectural HokkaidoTomakomai Higashi High School), took a preliminary course of Keio University, and graduated from the faculty of law at Keio University in 1952.

In April the same year, he joined Toei Company, Ltd. After working in the Planning department at headquarters, he was transferred to Toei Kyoto Movie Studio in 1954. He was designated assistant director in the production department.

In September 1959, he was promoted and became the director of "Fugakuhicho" (The Secret Story of Mt. Fuji). Since then, he directed many samurai pictures with plenty of sword fights at Toei during the golden era of Jidaigeki (period movies).

In the mid 1960s after the sword fighting movie boom, he shifted to making films about a group of assassins and produced "Thirteen Assassins" (1963) and "The Great Duel" (1964). Of special note is the "Thirteen Assassins," which won an award for achievement in cinematic direction at the Kyoto citizens' film festival.

In the boom of ninkyo (men of chivalry) films which became the new mainstream at Toei after the late 1960s, he produced several yakuza (Japanese gangster) films including "Nippon Ankokushi, Chi no Koso" (Japanese dark history, bloody conflicts, 1967) and "Nippon Ankokushi, Nasakemuyo" (Japanese dark history, relentless fight, 1968). However, he was not very much inclined to do yakuza films nor did he produce many documentary-oriented yakuza movies which had become highly popular after the release of "Jingi naki Tatakai" (Battle Without Honor and Humanity) series.

From around this time, he shifted his work to made-for-TV films (in which many directors had engaged due to decline in Japanese films after the 1960s) in the 1970s. In particular, he participated in the highly popular period drama series broadcast by Asahi Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Hissatsu Shigotonin (Professional killers), from the second season titled "Hissatsu shiokinin" and on as a director. Except for a temporary period on leave, he directed 60 or more episodes. He also directed the theatrical movie "Hissatsu 3: Ura ka omote ka" (Professional killers 3, up or down). He also directed six episodes of the legendary TV drama "Kizu darake no tenshi" (Scarred Angels) series broadcast by Nippon Television Network Corporation (the largest number of episodes directed in the series).

In the 1980s, he returned to filmmaking and directed films including "Jingi naki Tatakai" (Battle Without Honor and Humanity, 1979), "Kage no Gundan: Hattori Hanzo" (Shadow Warriors, 1980), "Yokohama BJ Blues" (1981), "Yaju Deka" (Brutal detective, 1982), and "Ring ring ring, Namida no Champion Belt" (Ring ring ring, champion belt in tears, 1993).

He died from a brainstem hemorrhage on September 23, 2000. Died at the age of 71. He married in November, 1955, and had a son and a daughter.