Makino Mitsuo (マキノ光雄)

Mitsuo MAKINO (November 15, 1909-December 9, 1957) was a movie producer in Japan. He was the sixth child (the second son) of Shozo MAKINO who was known as the 'Father of Japanese cinema,' and his real name was Mitsujiro TADA because he succeeded his mother's family name. As a child actor, he went by the name of Kojiro MAKINO, and he had another names such as Mitsuo TADA and Mitsuo MAKINO. After his father's death, he continued in the positions of general manager of the general affairs department of Makino Production Omuro Movie Studio, assistant general manager of the production department of Nikkatsu Studio, general manager of the planning department of the Nikkatsu Tamagawa Movie Studio, general manager of the entertainment movie department of Manchuria Film Association, head of Toei Movie Studios and senior managing director and general manager of the production department of Toei.

Biography and Personal Profile

He was born on November 15, 1909 in Nishijin, Kyoto City. His family name, Tada, is the family name of his mother's parents' house. He had appeared in his father's movies as a child actor by the name 'Mitsujiro MAKINO' since his childhood, and grew in the changing cinema industry. After he entered Doshisha High School in 1921, he became a Christian while getting involved in rugby. On the other hand, he led a dissipated life and was dismissed from school on the day just before graduating from junior high school. He left for Tokyo under the guise of studying in 1927, but he embezzled his commissions related to movies being shown in Tokyo movie theaters from Makino Production's and spent the money for alcohol and his pleasure. Shozo was a strict and loving father, even after Mitsuo returned to Kyoto, his father was not upset with him and he took Mitsuo to the Omuro Movie Studio every day.

When Mitsuo's older brother Masahiro MAKINO was as young as twenty to overcome adverse situations such as the loss of his family's house in a fire in 1928 and the loss of many actors and actresses who quit Makino Productions, he produced a masterpiece of period drama "Roningai" with Itaro YAMAGAMI, but upon Shozo's death on July 25, 1929 the next year, it became difficult to continue the operation of Makino Productions and there was a conflict about the non-payment of salaries at the end of 1930. After that, he left for Tokyo to seek support from other people in spite of Masahiro's objections, but he just threw his money away.
After all, Masahiro did not blame him for his failure and said 'Mitsuo had a good lesson.'

Although his brother Masahiro attempted to take a chance and become successful in Shoei Makino Cinema, he lost everything from the fire of the Omuro Movie Studio in 1932, and joined Nikkatsu Corporation with other people from the Makino families. There, he was involved in the production of period dramas and took the position of assistant general manager of the production department. In 1934 he was relocated to the Nikkatsu Tamagawa Studio, and together with Kanichi NEGISHI, who was assigned as the new head of the studio in the following year, he was working hard at the position of the general manager of the planning department.

He hired a former Takarazuka star Reiko HOSHI as the leading star in his movie in 1938, and married her. In the same year, when Negishi was rejected from Nikkatsu Tamagawa Studio by Sakichi MORITA, Mitsuo quit the job and left for the Chinese continent to work at 'Manchuria Movie Association' (Manei) as a director. Mitsuo left for Manchuria in June following Negishi with respect, and took up the position of general manager of the production department, while experiencing a lot of hardship in a foreign country where language, natural conditions, and customs were different. He played an important role in hiring Rikoran (Li Xianglan, 李香蘭) for Manei and built her up from just a singer to a leading actress. He produced many movies, building the foundation of Manei. After he quit the Tokyo branch in 1943, he joined Shochiku Co., Ltd. and started working at the Shochiku Kyoto Studios.

In 1946, at Negishi's request, he quit Shochiku Co., Ltd. to join Toyoko Film Company (the predecessor of Toei) which was owned by Tokyu Corporation. He used 牧野満男 for his name until the production of "Byakko" in 1949, and started using マキノ光雄 when "Gokumonjima" (Gokumon Island) was produced.

When Toei was incorporated on April 1, 1951 with President Hiroshi OKAWA, he took the position of general manager of the production department at the head office and then, became the head of Toei Movie Studios. In 1952, he stood at the forefront of production as the managing director and chief general manager of the production department. With his hits "Himeyuri No To" (The Tower of Lilies) (1953) and "Fuefuki doji" (Flute playing boy) (1954), he became a senior managing director. While he was managing to promote actors such as Kinnosuke NAKAMURA, Chiyonosuke AZUMA, Hashizo OKAWA and Ken TAKAKURA, he had Tomu UCHIDA, who had experienced the hardships of Manchuria, shoot "Chiyari Fuji" (A Bloody Spear on Mount Fuji) (1955). When he saw youngsters including Kinji FUKASAKU playing mah-jong all the time without any motivation, he did not blame them for their behavior, but rather made them laugh telling them erotic stories. During a production meeting where the employment of a certain movie director (Tadashi IMAI, according to a source) was proposed but attendants were rejecting the proposed director because of his 'left wing' ideology; Mitsuo allegedly laughed them off by saying "Right or Left does matter, I belong to the Dainippon Movie Party."

He became ill in October 1957. He died on December 9, 1957. He was forty-eight years old. If he had not died so early, it was believed that he would have become the next president of Toei Company, Ltd.