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Yamamura, So

YAMAMURA, So


Nationality: Japanese. Born: Yoshisda Koga in Tenri City, 24 February 1910. Education: Studied German literature at Imperial University, Tokyo, was graduated in 1935. Military Service: 1944–45. Career: Actor and director with the Taiyo-za theater; joined the Shochiku studio's Kansai Shimpa group; 1936—co-founder of the Inoue Engeki Dojo theater group, and formed the Bunka-za theater group, 1942; 1946—film debut in Inochi aru kagiri; 1952–54—founding member of Gendai Production Company; 1953—directed his first film, Kani-ko sen; 1954–65—director of the Ginza Production Company; active in television since the mid-1960s. Awards: Several Japanese prizes for acting and directing. Died: 26 May 2000 in Suginami, Tokyo, Japan, of myocardial infarction.


Films as Actor:

1946

Inochi aru kagiri (Kusada)

1947

Chikagai no nijuyo-jikan; Joyu Sumako no koi (Mizoguchi) (as Hogetsu Shimamura)

1948

Dai-ni no jinsei (Sekigawa); Otoko o sabaku onna (Sasaki); Taifu-ken no onna (as gangster boss); Midori naki shima; Yukyo no mure (Osone)

1949

Onna no tatakai; Kirare no Senta; Utsukushiki batsu (Oba); Ryusei (Abe); Umi no yaju; Daitokai no kao (Abe); Maboroshi fujin; Hana no sugao

1950

Shojo-dakara (Shima); Kageboshi; Hakuchu no ketto (Saeiki); Haha-tsubaki; Tokyo mushuku (Chiba); Josei tai dansei (Saburi); Ai no sanga; Dokuga (Sunohara); Shiroi yaju; Nankai no joka; Munekata-shima (The Munekata Sisters) (Ozu) (as Kyosuke Mimura); Senka o koete (Sekigawa); Yuki-fujin ezu (Madame Yuki) (Mizoguchi) (as Tatsuoka); Gunkan sudeni kemuri nashi (Sekigawa); Otone no yogiri (Hirade); Kikyo (Oba); Jonetsu no rumuba

1951

Eriko to tomoni (Toyoda) (as Eriko's father); Zemma (The Good Fairy) (Kinoshita); Nessa no byakuran (Kimura); Jiyu gakko (Yoshimura); Sonohito no na wa ienai (Sugie); Dare ga watashi o sabakunoka (Taniguchi); Sekirei no kyoku (Toyoda); Maihime; Musashino fujin (Lady Musashino) (Mizoguchi) (as Eiji Ono); Hirate Miki (Namiki) (title role); Hibari no komori-uta; Honoo no hada

1952

Meshi (Repast) (Naruse); Kenju jigoku; Keian hi-cho; Gunro no machi; Seishun kaigi; Kaze futatabi (Toyoda); Uogashi shunjitsu; Okuni to Gohei; Shinrun dorobo; Atakake no hitobito (Hisamatsu); Konna watashi ja nakattani; Onna no inochi; Asakusa yonin shimai; Gendaijin (Shibuya); Choito neesan omoide yanagi; Ashi ni sawatta onna (The Woman Who Touched Legs) (Ichikawa); Oka wa hanazakari (Chiba); Ringo-en no shojo; Joka (Oba)

1953

Fukeyo harukaza (Taniguchi); Mura hachibu (Imaizumi); Shukuzu (Epitome) (Shindo); Ganpeki (Nakamura); Ochiba nikki; Tokyo monogatari (Tokyo Story) (Ozu) (as Koichi); Nigorie (Muddy Water) (Imai)

1954

Yama no oto (Sounds from the Mountains; Sound of the Mountain) (Naruse); Moeru Shanhai; Shinjitsu ichiro; Rakei kazoku; Kaze tachinu; Mama no shinkon-ryoko; Kakute yume ari; Dobu (Gutter) (Shindo); Nippon yaburezu; Karatachi no hana; Otsukisama niwa waruikedo

1955

Hitokiri Hikosai; Aisureba koso; Sugata Sanshiro; Ikitoshi ikeru mono; Sengoku hibun; Bocchan kisha; Ai no inomotsu; Mori Ranmaru; Yuki no honoo; Jukyu no hanayome; Seishun kaidan; Yokihi (Princess Yang Kwei-fei) (Mizoguchi) (as Anrokuzan); Ashita kuru hito; Fukushu no shichikamen

1956

Soshun (Early Spring) (Ozu) (as Yutaka Kawai); Ma no kisetsu: Haru no mizuumi; Mahiru no ankoku (Darkness at Noon) (Imai); Shu to midori (Nakamura); Wasureenu bojo (Champi); Tsuruhachi Tsurujiro; Nisshoku no natsu (Horikawa); Tsukigata Hanpeita: Hana no maki, Arashi no maki (Kinugasa) (as Kogoro Katsura); Yonjuhachi-sai no teiko (48-Year-Old Rebel; Protest at 48 Years Old) (Yoshimura); Hana futatabi; Typhon sur Nagasaki (Typhoon over Nagasaki) (Ciampi)

1957

Kyofu no kuchu satsujin; Hakuji no hito; Fujinka-i no kokuhaku; Tokyo boshoku (Tokyo Twilight) (Ozu) (as Tsumoru Sekiguchi); Doshaburi (Nakamura); Jigokubana; Chieko-sho (Kumagai) (as Kotaro Takamura); Yoruno cho (Night Butterflies) (Yoshimura); Bakuon to daichi (Sekigawa); Ana (The Pit; The Hole) (Ichikawa)

1958

Anzukko (Naruse); Gendai mushuku; Yatsu no hajiki wa jigoku daze; Oban: Kanketsu-hen (Chiba); Hibari no hanagata tantei gassen; Kibo no otome; Murasaki zukin; Musume no naka no musume; The Barbarian and the Geisha (Huston) (as Tamura)

1959

Chushingura (as Hyobu Chisaka); Ningen no joken (The Human Condition; No Greater Love) (Kobayashi) (as Okishima); Muhomachi no yarodomo; Yoru no haiyaku; Kurobune; Itazura (Nakamura); Tatsumaki bugyo; Jigoku no soko made tsukiauze; Jyan Arima no shugeki; Shizukanaru kyodan; Shingo jubanshobu, Part II; Yami o yokogire

1960

Hibari no zoku beranmee geisha; Hatamoto to Banshiin: Otoko no Taiketsu; Orekara ikuzo; Shori to haiboku; Keishicho monogatari: Kikikomi; Fundoshi isha (The Country Doctor; Life of a Country Doctor) (Inagaki) (as Dr. Meikai Ikeda); Sabaku o wataru taiyo; Furyo shojo

1961

Berammee geisha makaridoru; Ore ga jigoku no tejina-shi da; Are ga minato no tomoshibi da (That Is the Port Light) (Imai); Hanjo (Nakamura); Hatamoto kenka-daka; Gonin no totsugekitai; Waga koi no tabiji; Hayabusa daimyo; Anju to Zushio-maru (animation) (as voice); Kako (Nakamura); Haitoku no mesu (Nomura); Netsuaisha; Happyakuman-goku ni idomu otoko; Sekai daisenso (Matsubayashi); Aijo no keifu (Record of Love; Love's Family Tree) (Gosho) (as Shuzo sugi)

1962

Katei no jijo; Senkyaku banrai (Nakamura); Yume de aritai; Yopparai tengoku; Karami-ai (The Inheritance) (Kobayashi) (as clerk); Musume to watashi (My Daughter and I) (Horikawa) (as the father); Taiheiyo senso to himeyurributai; Ano kumo no hate ni hoshi wa matataku; Akitsu onsen (Yoshida); Honkon no hoshi (Star of Hong Kong) (Chiba); Yama no sanka: Moyuru wakamonotachi (Glory on the Summit; Burning Youth) (Shinoda) (as Eijo Hirooka); Gishi shimatu-ki; Namidao Shishi no tategami no (Tears on the Lion's Mane) (Shinoda); Kanshaku rojin nikki (Kimura); Kawano hotoride (Born in Sin)

1963

Ano hashi no tamoto de, Part III: Ano hito was ima (Nomura); Staatanjo; Hana no saku ie; Zoku shinobi no mono (Return of Ninja) (Yamamoto) (as Mitsuhide Akechi); Gyangu chushingura; Oni-kenji; Akatsuki no gassho

1964

Kizudarake no sanga (Yamamoto) (as Katsuhei Arima)

1965

Nikutai no gakko (School for Sex; School of Love) (Kinoshita); Ane to imouto; Utsukishisa to kanashimi to (With Beauty and Sorrow) (Shinoda) (as Toshio Ooki); Taiheiyo kiseki no sakusen: Kisuka

1967

Nippon no ichiban nagai hi (The Emperor and a General) (Okamoto) (as Navy Minister)

1970

Gekido no Showa-shi: Gunbatsu (Horikawa); Tora! Tora! Tora! (Fleischer) (as Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto)

1972

Kozure ookami: Oya no kokoro ko no kokoro

1973

Hissatsu shikake-nin; Hissatsu shikaki-nin: Baiko ari-jigoku

1974

Hissatsu shikake-nin: Shinsetsu shikake-bari; Nostoradamusu no daiyogen (Prophecies of Nostradamus; Catastrophe 1999) (Masuda)

1975

Domyaku retto (Masumura)

1978

Inubue (Nakajima)

1983

Nankyoku monogatari (Antarctica) (Kurahara)

1986

Gung Ho (Working Class Man) (Ron Howard) (as Mr. Sakamoto)

1991

Gojira VS. Kingugidora (Godzilla vs. King Ghidora) (as Prime Minister)



Films as Actor and Director:

1953

Kani-ko sen (The Crab-Canning Ship) (ro as Matsuki, + sc)

1954

Kuroi ushio (Black Tide) (as Hayami)

1955

Sara no hanano toge

1959

Hahakogusa; Kashimanada no onna (The Maidens of Yashima Sea)

1960

Furyu Fukagawa uta (The Song of Fukagawa)



Publications


On YAMAMURA: article—

Buehrer, Beverley Bare, in Japanese Films: A Filmography and Commentary, 1921–1989, Jefferson, North Carolina, 1990.


* * *

So Yamamura began his career as a stage actor, shifting to film after World War II. Perhaps because of his origins, he always studied the screenplay before accepting a role. His acting style was as careful as his attitude.

Yamamura's greatest recognition in his early period was the result of his portrayal of the stagnant husband in Ozu's The Munekata Sisters. He depicted this lonely man's frustration so effectively that he made the character seem sympathetic as well as depressing. His vivid performance seemed to symbolize the bleak family relationships of the postwar period. Among Yamamura's contributions to Ozu's other films, his controlled performance as the eldest son in Tokyo Story is especially memorable.

In addition to his work with Ozu, Yamamura played several important roles of the films of Mizoguchi. Eventually, however, he established a leftist independent film company, Gendai Productions, and actively involved himself in the independent film movement. He produced and directed several films that were politically controversial and were not accepted by the major studios, but that demonstrated his ability to give realistic performances and to create dynamic and carefully constructed films. Examples of these include Kani-ko sen, which depicts the exploitation of a crab ship's workers (based on a proletarian literary classic), and Kuroi ushio, which tells the story of a reporter who challenges authority, only to be ultimately defeated by it.

Perhaps Yamamura's most remarkable characteristic was his versatility. Some of his most moving performances were in the role of an older man in love with a younger woman, as in the sensitive film adaptations of Kawabata's novels, Sound of the Mountain and With Beauty and Sorrow. Perhaps the most outstanding creation of Yamamura's film career, however, was the business mogul in Satsuo Yamamoto's Kizudarake no sanga, which has become the archetype of the lonely villain who is also a victim of his own boundless ambition. Yamamura's versatility as an actor is ample proof that his talent was equal to his integrity and devotion to his craft.

—Kyoko Hirano

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