Shimazu Yasujiro (島津保次郎)

Yasujiro SHIMAZU (June 3, 1897 - September 18, 1945) is a film director from the Taisho to the Showa era.

He was born as the son of an established marine product trader in Surugadai, Kanda Ward (today's Surugadai, Kanda, Chiyoda Ward), Tokyo. After graduating from Seisoku English School (today's Seisokugakuen High School), he helped his family business and engaged in logging of paulownia used for geta (wooden clogs) in Fukushima Prefecture. However, when he learned about Shochiku Co., Ltd. entering the film industry, he joined the company as an apprentice to Kaoru OSANAI via the introduction of a friend of his father.

He moved to the Shochiku Kinema Kenkyu-jo production company with Osanai and served as assistant director on the company's first film "Rojo no Reikon" (Souls on the Road) in 1921. In the same year, he served as director for "Sabishiki Hitobito" (Lonely People) in Osaka.

In 1922, he returned to Shochiku Kamata Studios and worked as an assistant director for Kiyohiko USHIHARA before being promoted to director. Shimazu achieved recognition with "Yama no Senroban" (The Mountain Railroad Tracks) (1923) which Daisuke ITO (director) adapted from the Gerhart Hauptmann original. He went on to become popular for his many works vividly portraying the lives of common people. As a master of melodrama, Shimazu later came to be considered one of the directors with an ability to attract audiences. He was selected to direct "Otosan" (lit. Father) which was planned as a picture to mark the reconstruction following the Great Kanto Earthquake and starred popular shinpa-geki (new school theater) actress Yaeko MIZUTANI (I). His popularity and ability is also demonstrated by the fact.

Shimazu's characteristic realism further blossomed with the age of talking pictures. The youthful, refreshing sensation of "Arashi no Naka no Shojo" (Maiden in the Storm) and "Tonari no Yaechan" (Our Neighbor, Miss Yae) was unrivalled. Shimazu embarked on creating film adaptations of major literary works such as "Okoto to Sasuke" (Okoto and Sasuke) which was adapted from Junichiro TANIZAKI's "Shunkinsho" (A Portrait of Shunkin), and in this field he also created works which brought to the fore a vivid feeling of realism.

After shooting what is said to be his representative work "Ani to Sono Imoto" (A Brother And His Younger Sister) in 1939, he moved to Toho and directed major works such as "Shirasagi" (Snowy Heron).

Shimazu had an enormous impact on Japanese film, with his pupils including Heinosuke GOSHO, Shiro TOYODA, Kozaburo YOSHIMURA, Keisuke KINOSHITA, Noboru NAKAMURA, Kiyoshi SAEKI and Senkichi TANIGUCHI.

The film director Shoichi SHIMAZU is his biological son.