Legendary Japanese film maker Kon Ichikawa died yesterday of pneumonia in Tokyo. He was 92.
The passing away of Ichikawa, who was perhaps best known abroad for The Burmese Harp (1956), Fires on the Plain (1959) and the Tokyo Olympics documentary Tokyo Olympiad (1965), can be seen as ending the final chapter (or appendix) in Japan’s so-called “golden age of cinema” that peaked in the 1950s and 60s. Ichikawa was also the last of the “Four Knights” to go, following Kurosawa, Keisuke Kinoshita and Masaki Kobayashi, who all passed away in the 1990s.
During his 60-year long career as a film maker, Ichikawa directed altogether 88 feature films. One of his last efforts was Dora-heita (Alley Cat, 2000), a movie filmed from a script co-written in the 1960s with Kurosawa and the other “Four Knights” members.