Friday, November 28, 2008

The Juzo Itami Award established to honour artistic excellence

by Chris MaGee

Nobuko Miyamoto (above center), the widow of Japanese director Juzo Itami was joined by filmmaker Masayuki Suo (far left) and illustrator Shimbo Minami (far right) this past Tuesday for a press conference to inaugurate Japan's latest culture and arts prize: the Juzo Itami Award. This new prize worth ¥1 million will honour "excellence in literary expression [and] visual expression" including works in Japanese film and television.

Miyamoto, who starred in in every one of her late husband's films including 1985's "Tampopo" and 1987's "A Taxing Woman" told assembled journalists that "Itami was glad when he saw those who were involved in his film productions make successful careers. I have established this award as I cannot forget his smile at that time."

Itami, during his almost 40 year career as an actor and director was the recipient of some of Japan's highest honours for cinematic achievement including the Kinema Junpo Award and The Mainichi Film Concours. Tragically his career was cut short in 1997 after the then 64-year-old Itami committed suicide.

Thanks to via Japan Probe for this story.

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