Yoshimura Kozaburo (吉村公三郎)

Kozaburo YOSHIMURA (September 9, 1911 – November 7, 2000) was a movie director during the Showa period. He had four children and his eldest son is the NHK commentator, Hidemi YOSHIMURA.

Life and Personal Profile

He was born in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture as the son of Heizo YOSHIMURA, a journalist who later became the Mayor of Hiroshima City. He transferred to Kome Primary School in Tokyo Prefecture due to his father's relocation, then entered Gifu Prefectural Ogaki Junior High School in 1924, but transferred to the private Nihon Junior High School (currently Nihon Gakuen High School) in Tokyo Prefecture when he was in the fourth grade of junior high school and graduated the next year. In 1929, with the help of a relative, he entered the Shochiku Kamata Film Studio as an assistant apprentice. After joining the studio, he was active as an assistant director under Yasujiro SHIMAZU. In 1932 he joined the army but was considered a suspicious person because he helped at the Tsukiji Sho-Gekijo (Tsukiji Small Theater) and participated in demonstrations. After one year, he dropped out of the army, then in 1934, he made his debut as a director with the short nonsense comedy, "Nukiashi Sashiashi Hijoji Shobai" (emergency business of a soft walker), starring the 10-year-old Hideko TAKAMINE, which was underestimated.

Later, he worked as an assistant director with Shimazu, and Shimazu's students such as Heinosuke GOSHO, Shiro TOYODA and Mikio NARUSE and was finally promoted as director to make his actual debut as a director with "Onna koso iewo mamore" (It is women who guard the home)" in 1939, and the next film, "Danryu" (warm current), based on a novel with the same name by Kunio KISHIDA and originally scheduled to be directed by Yasujiro SHIMAZU, which was a popular and fabulous production that was way beyond what was expected from his youth and was selected as seventh place in the ten best films. Beginning with this film, he was called a "Master of Woman's Films" because he became noted for his talent in drawing out the appeal of star actresses starting with Mieko TAKAMINE of this film and others such as Setsuko HARA in "Anjoke no Butokai" (Ball of the Anjo family) and Machiko KYO in "Itsuwareru Seiso" (Clothes of Deception).

The following year, he directed the military propaganda film "Nishizumi Senshacho den" (The Story of Lieutenant Nishizumi) starring Ken Uehara, and took second place in the ten best films. During the war, he created "Kancho Imada Shisezu" (The Spy Is Not Yet Deed) in 1942 and "Kaisen no Zenya" (On the Eve of War) in 1943 which, although both strongly nationalist, were popular because of the suspense in the style of American films. In October 1943, he received his draft papers while filming, and left for the front. While in the army, he served as a leader of a machine-gun unit and was dispatched to the southern front, later moving to the 18th Area Army Headquarters Intelligence Department stationed in Bangkok in the Kingdom of Thailand, and ending the war at the intelligence department headed by Masanobu TSUJI.

After being demobilized from the southern front, in 1947 he filmed "Anjoke no Butokai" (The Ball of the Anjo Family) which depicted the decline of a noble family and signified the arrival of a new society and was met with a good reaction; ranking number one in the Kinema Junpo magazine's top ten. He later worked as a pair with Kaneto SHINDO who wrote the screenplay for this film and the two went on to create a number of masterpieces. In 1950, he established the 'Kindai Eiga Kyokai' (Modern Film Association) production company together with Kaneto SHINDO, and its films were mainly distributed by the Daiei Motion Picture Company. In 1951, he won the award for best director at the Mainichi Film Awards for "Itsuwareru Seiso" (Clothes of Deception). In the same year, he discovered Keiko KISHI who had been visiting the Shochiku Ofuna Film Studio. In 1952, "Genji Monogatari" (The Tale of Genji) which he had directed, was taken to the Cannes Film Festival and Kohei SUGIYAMA won the award for best cinematographer. He made many films, and was especially talented at portraying the emotional relationships between men and women. In 1956, he left Kindai Eiga Kyokai, which was having financial problems (he left only his name because of the wishes of Kaneto SHINDO), and joined Daiei.

It may have been that he reached the limit of his physical strength after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in 1963 and having a full gastrectomy in 1972, but he left film industry after his final work, the 1974 film "Ranru no Hata" (Ragged Flags) depicting Shozo TANAKA, and made writing his main occupation. He received the Shiju Hosho (Order of the Purple Ribbon) in 1976 and the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in 1982. He served as the master of ceremonies at the funerals of Kiyohiko USHIHARA in 1985 and Nobuko OTOWA in 1994. Even after he was widowed in 1997, continued to write essays, contribute articles and conduct lectures as if in good health, but on November 27, 2000, he died from acute heart failure. He died at the age of 89.