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Juzo Itami in Film Industry

Mansaku Itami specialized in costume dramas, while Juzo Itami concentrated on contemporary satire.

Juzo Itami was born in Ehime on the southern island of Shikoku, and he spent much of his childhood and youth there. From the first, the boy was a rebel against the stifling conventions of Japanese society. He attended Matsuyama Minami High School, and one of his friends at the school was the future Nobel prizewinning novelist Kenzaburo Oe. Oe left us a striking portrait of young Itami in his book of essays published in 1995

Oe tells how the writer Ryotaro Shiba described Itami admiringly as an ijin, which means a person "who is different from the norm; a superior person . . . A person who practices mysterious arts; a wizard, a foreigner" (Kirkup, 1997, 16). When Oe met itami, the latter was already embroiled in a battle with the administration over the compulsory uniform rule for the school. Oe reported that his friend suffered from a sense of infringement on his human rights. Itami was unable to attend a university after he was expelled from school, meaning he could not sit for the university entrance exam. He then went to work as an illustrator (Kirkup, 1997, 16).

Itami moved to Tokyo in 1960 and went to work for the Daiei movie company as an actor, and there he specialized in supporting roles. In that year, he also married Kazuko Kawakita. He left Daiei in 1961 and went to work writing literary essays, much as his father had done. He con


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