Jūzō Itami

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Jūzō Itami, 1966

Juzo Itami ( Japanese 伊丹 十三 , Itami Jūzō ; actually Yoshihiro Ikeuchi ; born May 15, 1933 in Kyoto ; † December 20, 1997 in Tokyo ) was a Japanese actor and film director .


Itami was the son of the director Mansaku Itami . In the 1960s he was best known as an actor in 55 days in Beijing alongside Ava Gardner and Charlton Heston and in several Japanese films. In 1984 he won the Hochi Film Award and the Kinema Junpo Award for various supporting roles. From that year he also worked as a director. His first directorial work was the comedy funeral ceremony with Tsutomu Yamazaki and Nobuko Miyamoto in the lead roles. The film won numerous awards, including Itami received Japanese Academy Awards for Funeral Ceremony in the categories of Best Director and Best Screenplay .

From 1969 until his death he was married to the Japanese actress Nobuko Miyamoto, who also starred in almost all of his films.

Juzo Itami fell from the eighth floor of the building where he worked on December 20, 1997. In the run-up, he was said to have had an affair with a 26-year-old actress in the press. He allegedly left a note in which he denied this affair and stated that only suicide could prove his innocence. At the time of his death, Itami was working on a film about the alleged entanglements between the Soka Gakkai and the Yakuza. This is why some voices claim that the yakuza murdered him and disguised the murder as suicide. This conspiracy theory is supported by the fact that Itami got into trouble with the Japanese mafia because of his film Minbo and was even beaten up once by ordered thugs.

Filmography (selection)


Director and screenwriter

  • 1984: Funeral Ceremony ( Ososhiki )
  • 1985: Tampopo
  • 1987: The tax investigator ( Marusa no onna )
  • 1988: The tax investigator strikes again ( Marusa no onna II )
  • 1990: Geisha of Luck ( Ageman )
  • 1992: The Art of Blackmail (DVD Title: Minbo) ( Minbo no onna )
  • 1993: Dance on the Abyss ( Daibyonin )
  • 1995: Shizukana seikatsu
  • 1996: Sūpah no onna
  • 1997: Marutai no onna

Web links


  1. ^ Jake Adelstein: Tokyo Vice; An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan, Pantheon, October 2009, ISBN 0307378799