Composer. Nationality: Japanese. Born: Tokyo, 8 October 1930; grew up in Manchuria. Education: Studied with Kasuji Kiyose. Career: Member of the avant-garde group Jikken Kobo; entered films as assistant to Fumio Hayasaka; 1955—first film score, for Ginrin ; has composed orchestra works; 1975—taught at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. Awards: Japanese Academy Award and Los Angeles Film Critics Award, for Ran , 1985. Died: 16 February 1996.
Films as Composer:
Ginrin ( Silver Circle ) (Matsumoto) (co); Kinegraphy (Ohtsuji)
Kurutta kajitsu ( Crazed Fruit ) (Nakahira); Shu to midori ( Red and Green ) (Nakamura); Tsuyu no atosaki ( Toward the Rainy Season ) (Nakamura)
Doshaburi ( Hard Rain ) (Nakamura); Kaoyaku ( The Boss ) (Nakamura)
Haru o matsu hitobito ( Those Who Wait for Spring ) (Nakamura); Kiyen ryoko ( Dangerous Voyage ) (Nakamura); Asu e no seiso ( Tomorrow's Costume ) (Nakamura); Itazura ( The Joke ) (Nakamura)
José Torres (Teshigahara—short); Kawaita mizuumi ( Youth in Fury ) (Shinoda)
Mozu (Shibuya); Furyo shonen ( Bad Boys ) (Hani); Hanjo (Nakamura); Mitasareta seikatsu ( A Full Life ) (Hani)
Karami-ai ( Heritage ) (Kobayashi); Otoshiana ( Pitfall ) (Teshigahara); Namida o shishi no tategami no ( Tears in the Lion's Mane ) (Shinoda); Seppuku ( Harakiri ) (Kobayashi); "Japan" ep. of L'Amour à vingt ans ( Love at Twenty ) (Ishihara); Ratai ( The Body ) (Narusawa)
Kawaita hana ( Pale Flower ) (Shinoda); Subarashii akujo ( Wonderful Bad Woman ) (Onchi); Miren ( Regrets ) (Chiba); Taiheiyo hitoribotchi ( My Enemy, the Sea ; Alone on the Pacific ) (Ichikawa) (co); Shiro to kuro ( Pressure of Guilt ) (Horikawa); Koto ( Twin Sisters of Kyoto ) (Nakamura); Sunna no onna ( Woman in the Dunes ) (Teshigahara); Kanojo to kare ( She and He ) (Hani)
Nijuissa no chichi ( A Father at 21 ) (Nakamura); "Ako" ep. of La Fleur de l'age ( The Adolescents ) (Teshigahara); Ansatsu ( Assassination ) (Shinoda); Nihon dashutsu ( Escape from Japan ) (Yoshida); Te o tsunagu ko-ra ( Children Hand in Hand ) (Hani); Jidosha doroba ( Car Thief ) (Wada); Kaidan ( Kwaidan ) (Kobayashi); Shiroi asa ( White Morning ) (Teshigahara—short); Jotai ( The Call of Flesh ) (Onchi); Le Mystère Koumiko ( The Koumiko Mystery ) (Marker)
Utsukushisa to kanashimi to ( With Beauty and Sorrow ) (Shinoda); Saigo no shinpan ( The Last Judgment ) (Horikawa); Ibun Sarutobi sasuke ( Samurai Spy ) (Shinoda); Kemonomichi ( Beast Alley ) (Sugawa); José Torres, Part II (Teshigahara—doc); Yotsuya kaidan ( Illusion of Blood ) (Toyoda); Buwana Toshi no uta ( Bwana Toshi ) (Hani)
Shokei no shima ( Punishment Island ) (Shinoda); Monokurohmu no gaka: Yves Kline ( Monochrome Painter Yves Kline ) (Noda); Ki no kawa ( Ki River ) (Nakamura); Tanin no kao ( The Face of Another ) (Teshigahara); Akogare ( Once a Rainy Day ) (Onchi)
Akanegumo ( Clouds at Sunset ) (Shinoda); Joi-Uchi ( Rebellion ) (Kobayashi); Izol no odoriko (Onchi); Midaregumo ( Two in the Shadow ) (Naruse)
Meguriai ( The Meeting ) (Onchi); Moetikuta chizu ( The Man without a Map ) (Teshigahara); Nihon no seishun ( Japanese Youth ) (Kobayashi); Kyo ( Kyoto ) (Ichikawa); Hatsukoi jigokuhen ( Nanami: Inferno of First Love ) (Hani)
Dankon ( Bullet Wound ) (Moritani); Shinju ten no amijima ( Double Suicide ) (Shinoda)
Taiyo no karyudo ( Hunter of the Sun ) (Onchi); Dodesukaden ( Dodeskaden ) (Kurosawa); Yomigaeru daichi ( The Rebirth of the Soil ) (Nakamura); Tokyo senso sengo hiwa ( He Died after the War ) (Oshima); Inochi bonifuro ( Inn of Evil ) (Kobayashi)
Gishiki ( The Ceremony ) (Oshima); Chinmoko ( Silence ) (Shinoda)
Natsu no imoto ( Dear Summer Sister ) (Oshima); Wonder World (Funakoshi); Summer Soldiers (Teshigahara); Seigenki ( Time without Memory ) (Narushima)
Kaseki no mori ( The Petrified Forest ) (Shinoda)
Himiko (Shinoda); Shiawase ( Happiness ) (Onchi)
Sakura no mori no mankai no shita ( Under the Cherry Blossoms ) (Shinoda); Kaseki ( Fossils ) (Kobayashi)
Nihontou: Miyairi Kouhei no waza ( Japanese Swords: The Work of Kouhei Miyairi ) (Yamauchi)
Sabita honoo ( Rusty Flame ) (Sadanaga); Hanare goze Orin ( The Ballad of Orin ) (Shinoda)
Ai no borei ( Empire of Passion ) (Oshima); Moeru aki ( Burning Autumn ; Glowing Autumn ) (Kobayashi)
Le Musée du Louvre ( The Louvre Museum ) (Uruta); Kataku ( This World ) (Kawamoto)
Tenpyou no iraka ( Slates of the Tenpyo Period ) (Kumai)
Yogen ( Prophecy ) (Hani)
Tokyo saiban ( The Tokyo Trial ) (Kobayashi—doc)
Himatsuri ( Fire Festival ) (Yanagimachi)
Antonio Gaudi (Teshigahara); Ran (Kurosawa); Shokutaku no nai ie ( Family without a Dinner Table ) (Kobayashi); Yari no Gonza ( Gonza the Spearman ) (Shinoda)
Kuroi Ame ( Black Rain ) (Imamura)
Rising Sun (Kaufman)
Music for the Movies: Toru Takemitsu (Zwerin—doc) (+ ro as interviewee)
By TAKEMITSU: book—
Confronting Silence: Selected Writings , Berkeley, California, 1995.
By TAKEMITSU: article—
Cinejap (Paris), September 1978.
On TAKEMITSU: book—
Ohtake, Norike, Creative Sources for the Music of Toru Takemitsu , Hertfordshire, England, 1993.
On TAKEMITSU: articles—
Chaplin (Stockholm), April-May 1965.
Focus on Film (London), March-April 1970.
Ecran (Paris), September 1975.
Revue du Cinéma (Paris), September 1985.
Obituary in Cue Sheet (Hollywood), January 1996.
Obituary in Variety (New York), 26 February 1996.
* * *
Toru Takemitsu was not only one of the greatest contemporary Japanese composers and theoreticians of experimental music, but he was also a cinema fanatic who wrote music for more than 80 films. His film career began in the mid-1950s after he studied with the master composer Fumio Hayasaka. His first feature film was Kou Nakahira's Crazed Fruit , a popular film about sensational bourgeois youth, which also attracted critical attention for its refreshing sensibility.
After working on a number of films by Noboru Nakamura, a successful Shochiku Studio melodrama director, Takemitsu began to work for the most ambitious young directors of his generation such as Masahiro Shinoda, Susumu Hani, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Nagisa Oshima, and Yoshishige Yoshida, as well as master directors including Masaki Kobayashi, Kon Ichikawa and Akira Kurosawa.
Takemitsu's modern and unconventional style has greatly advanced Japanese film music. He responded to the highly experimental and stylized visual images created by Shinoda, Hani, Teshigahara, Oshima, and Yoshida with equally bold, often dissonant and avantgarde sounds. His scores compel the audience to perceive a film as a montage of visual and auditory images.
Takemitsu experimented with Japanese traditional instruments and musical concepts, as evidenced in Kobayashi's Kwaidan and Kurosawa's Ran . His use of silence and his sense of taste and timing were particularly effective in conveying suspense.