Hiroshi Shimizu, another great film director of Japan’s golden age

Hiroshi Shimizu (清水 宏) was a Japanese film director, lessor known than Yasujirō Ozu or Kenji Mizoguchi, but he directed over 160 films during his career. His style is known as realistic style because he excluded intentional plots, lines, acting or direction.


Shimizu was born in Shizuoka Prefecture in March 28th of 1903. He moved to Tokyo in 1910. He entered Hokkaidō University in 1920, but left in less than a year. After he left the university, he started to work as a cinema projectionist in Asakusa, Tokyo in 1921. And in 1922, he entered Shochiku studio where Mikio Naruse had been working already, and next year, in 1923, Yasujirō Ozu also joined to the studio. He debuted as a film director in 1924, at the age of just 21. He mainly directed melodrama and comedy films. In less than 10 years since he debuted, he had directed almost 100 films. In 1936, while talkie films were already popular in Japan, he made Mr. Thank you with Ken Uehara as the protagonist. He shot this film almost all in outside, riding on a bus on streets in Izu, and his style got acclaimed as realistic style. He preferred to cast kids, amateurs or rookies as they were not professional-actor-ish. He also liked Izu area as the filming location.

His works

Japanese Girls at the Harbor (港の日本娘, 1933)

The friendship of Sunako and Dora, both mixed-race teenagers attending a Catholic school in Yokohama, is at stake with the appearance of careless playboy Henry. After a short-lived affair, Henry leaves Sunako for a third girl, Yoko. In an outburst of jealousy, Sunako shoots Yoko with Henry’s revolver in a church’s prayer room.

Japanese Girls at the Harbor – Wikipedia


Michiko Oikawa
Yukiko Inoue
Ureo Egawa
Ranko Sawa
Yumeko Aizome
Tatsuo Saitō
Yasuo Nanjō

Mr. Thank You (有りがたうさん, 1936)

A bus driver, nicknamed Mr. Thank You due to his expressions of gratitude to other road users who give way on the narrow mountain roads, drives from southern part of rural Izu to Shuzenji Station in northern Izu Peninsula, which was the nearest train station at the time. The film portrays the passengers and their diverse reasons for travel, and the people they meet on the way, including a group of migrant workers.

Mr. Thank You – Wikipedia


Ken Uehara
Michiko Kuwano
Mayumi Tsukiji
Kaoru Futaba
Setsuko Shinobu
Ryuji Ishiyama

The Masseurs and a Woman (按摩と女, 1938)

The movie opens on Toku and his fellow blind masseur friend Fuku walking down a mountain path talking about how they take pride in how many people they pass on their walks even though they are blind. They are walking north to work in a village of inns. Once there they perform their jobs and Toku encounters a woman from Tokyo who had ridden in a carriage that passed them on the road. He recognizes her by her distinct Tokyo smell.

The Masseurs and a Woman – Wikipedia


Mieko Takamine
Shin Tokudaiji
Shinichi Himori
Bakudan Kozo
Shin Saburi
Ayuko Hirano
Toru Hirose
Zentaro Iijima
Akio Isono
Hideko Kasuga
Toshiaki Konoe
Chieko Kyotani
Fusako Maki
Mitsuko Miura

Sayon’s Bell (サヨンの鐘, 1943)

based on the true story of a 17-year-old Atayal girl called Sayun Hayun from Nan’ao village, Giran district, Taihoku Prefecture, Taiwan, who went missing and was thought to have drowned whilst helping carry the luggage of her teacher Masaki Takita during a storm in 1938.

Sayon’s Bell – Wikipedia


Shirley Yamaguchi
Toshiaki Konoe
Kenji Ōyama
Kinuko Wakamizu
Hatsu Shimazaki
Kenzō Nakagawa
Hideko Mimura
Hiroshi Mizuhara
Minoru Nakamura

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