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Nobuhiko Obayashi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Nobuhiko Obayashi
Nobuhiko Obayashi cropped 2 Nobuhiko Obayashi 201911.jpg
Nobuhiko Obayashi
Born (1938-01-09) 9 January 1938 (age 82)
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, editor, film producer
Years active1960–present

Nobuhiko Obayashi (大林 宣彦, Ōbayashi Nobuhiko, born 9 January 1938) is a Japanese director, screenwriter and editor of films and television advertisements.


Obayashi is a Japanese director, screenwriter and editor of films and television advertisements who is well known for his surreal visual style. He began his career as a pioneering figure in Japanese experimental film during the 1960s before transitioning to directing more mainstream works such as television and feature films. He is most commonly known for being the director of the 1977 cult hit House, but he has made numerous other films in his filmmaking career spanning almost 60 years. He is notable for his distinct experimental and psychedelic filmmaking style, as well as the anti-war themes commonly embedded in his films.


with Tamio Mori at Honolulu Festival (in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 4, 2012)
with Tamio Mori at Honolulu Festival (in Honolulu, Hawaii on March 4, 2012)
at the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo International Film Festival (in Minato, Tokyo on October 25, 2017)
at the Opening Ceremony of Tokyo International Film Festival (in Minato, Tokyo on October 25, 2017)

Obayashi was born on 9 January 1938 in the city of Onomichi, Japan. He was the eldest son of a father who was one in a long paternal line of medical doctors. As his father was called to the battlefront during World War II, he was raised in his early infancy by his maternal grandparents. Through his childhood and adolescence Obayashi followed many artistic pursuits including drawing, writing, playing the piano, and a growing interest in animation and film.

In 1955 Obayashi, at the urging of his father, began procedures to enter medical school and become a doctor. However, he shortly thereafter abandoned this initiative partway through an entrance examination in order to follow his artistic interests. In 1956 he was accepted to the liberal arts department of Seijo University where he began to work with 8 and 16mm film. Toward the end of his stay at the university Obayashi began working on a series of experimental films. Along with works by other filmmakers such as Shuji Terayama and Donald Richie, Obayshi's films would develop the tone of Japanese experimental cinema through the 1960s. In these early experimental films Obayashi employed a number of avant-garde techniques that he would carry into his later mainstream work. Though these films tended to be of a personal nature, they received public viewership due to distribution by the Art Theatre Guild.

Following his departure from university, Obayashi continued to work on his experimental films while earning a living as a director in the new field of television advertisements. Obayashi's TV commercials had a visual appeal similar to that of his experimental works. In the 1970s he began a series of Japanese ads featuring well-known American stars such as Kirk Douglas and Charles Bronson. Obayashi began directing feature films starting in 1977 with the horror comedy House. The film employed a mixture of trick photography and avant-garde techniques to achieve its distinctive, surreal visuals, and has gone on to be considered a cult classic. It earned Obayashi the Blue Ribbon Award for Best New Director and has been ranked among the greatest Japanese films ever made.[1] Through the 1980s and onwards he continued to make feature films and broadened his mainstream appeal. He has become particularly well known for his coming-of-age movies: films such as Exchange Students (1982) and Chizuko's Younger Sister (1991) have prominent coming-of-age themes while still maintaining surreal fantasy elements and Obayashi's distinct visual flair.

His 1988 film The Discarnates was entered into the 16th Moscow International Film Festival.[2] His 1998 film Sada, based on the true story of Sada Abe, was entered into the 48th Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the FIRESCI Prize "For its unique combination of innovative style and human observation."[3]

In 2017, Hanagatami, his passion project which had been over 40 years in the making,[4] was finally released. Before production, Obayashi was diagnosed with stage four cancer and was only given three months to live, but he went on with making the film anyway. The film is an exploration of "pureness of youth beset by the chaos of war", inspired by Obayashi's own childhood and was met with acclaim, winning prizes such as the Best Film Award at the 72nd Mainichi Film Awards.[5] It is the third installment in a thematic trilogy of modern anti-war films by Obayashi, along with Casting Blossoms to the Sky (2012) and Seven Weeks (2014).

His next film, titled Labyrinth of Cinema, is set to premier at the 2019 Tokyo International Film Festival, where Obayashi will be the director in focus.







Special effects director


  • The Eye's Visitor (1977)


  1. ^ "WebCite query result". Retrieved 2019-08-17.
  2. ^ "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Archived from the original on March 16, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-24.
  3. ^ "Berlinale: 1998 Programme". Retrieved 2012-01-01.
  4. ^ "Working for Tomorrow: An Interview with Nobuhiko Obayashi on Notebook". MUBI. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  5. ^ "'Hanagatami' wins top prize at 72nd Mainichi Film Awards". Mainichi Daily News. 2018-01-18. Retrieved 2019-02-24.
  6. ^ 秋の叙勲、森山元法相ら4024人に," Yomiuri Shimbun. November 3, 2009.
  7. ^ Allen Kim. "'Mario Bros.' creator Shigeru Miyamoto to be given one of Japan's highest honors". CNN. Retrieved 2019-10-30.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 February 2020, at 05:36
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