Film director and screenwriter Kaneto Shindo, known for such works as “Children of Hiroshima” (原爆の子 Gembaku no Ko) and “Naked Island” (裸の島 Hadaka no Shima), died of old age at his home in Tokyo’s Minato Ward on May 29, his office said May 30. He was 100.
Born in Hiroshima Prefecture in 1912, he joined the Shinko Kinema film company in 1934 and later moved to Shochiku. After writing scripts for such movies as “The Anjo Family’s Formal Ball” (安城家の舞踏会 Anjo-ke no Butokai), directed by Kozaburo Yoshimura, Shindo co-founded Kindai Eiga Kyokai (Modern Movie Association) with Yoshimura and others in 1950.
Having learned screenwriting as an art assistant for the noted director Kenji Mizoguchi, Shindo made his debut as a director with “The Story of a Beloved Wife” (愛妻物語 Aisai Monogatari), based on his life with his deceased wife, in 1951. The star of the movie, Nobuko Otowa, later became Shindo’s real-life partner.
In 1952, he gained international attention with “Children of Hiroshima,” which is about a young schoolteacher who returns to Hiroshima, hoping to find students who survived the 1945 atomic bombing.
Shindo won the Grand Prix at the Moscow International Film Festival for “Naked Island” (1960) and received prizes at the festival for his 1970 film “Live Today, Die Tomorrow” (裸の十九歳 Hadaka no Jukyusai) and 1998 film “Will to Live” (生きたい Ikitai).
Otowa appeared in such films as “Onibaba” (鬼婆, 1964) and “Kuroneko” (藪の中の黒猫, 1968), both written and directed by Shindo. Her final film was “A Last Note” (午後の遺言状 Gogo no Yuigonjo), directed by Shindo in 1995.
Shindo was awarded the Order of Culture by the Japanese government in 2002 for contributions to art, literature and science.
His final film, “Postcard” (一枚のはがき Ichimai no Hagaki), won the Special Jury Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2010. It was based on Shindo’s experiences in the Japanese navy during World War II. He was one of six survivors out of a 100-man unit.
Shindo directed 49 films, and 231 of his scripts were made into films. He wrote the screenplay for “Hachi-ko” (ハチ公物語, 1987), which was remade in the U.S. as “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” (2009).