Yujiro Ishihara (石原 裕次郎, Ishihara Yūjirō, December 28, 1934 - July 17, 1987) was a Japanese actor and singer born in Kobe. His elder brother is Shintaro Ishihara, an author, politician, and the former Governor of Tokyo. Yujiro's film debut was the 1956 film "Season of the Sun," based on a novel written by his brother. He was beloved by many fans as a representative youth star in the films of postwar Japan and subsequently as a macho movie hero. He was extravagantly mourned following his early death from liver cancer.
Life and career:
Yūjirō grew up in Kobe, Hyōgo Prefecture, in Otaru, Hokkaidō, and in Zushi, Kanagawa. His father, an employee of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, was from Ehime Prefecture, and his mother was from Miyajima, Hiroshima. Yūjirō attended Otaru Fuji Kindergarten (小樽藤幼稚園) and then Otaru City Inaho Elementary School (小樽市立稲穂小学校). During his elementary school years he participated in competitive swimming and skied on Mt. Tengu (天狗山, tenguyama). He then attended Zushi City Zushi junior High School (逗子市立逗子中学校, zushi shiritsu zushi chuugakkō), where he began playing basketball. He aimed to enter Keio Senior High School, but did not pass the entrance examination. He enrolled at Keio Shiki Boys' Senior High School (慶應義塾志木高等学校), but in 1951 was admitted to Keio Senior High School. Afterward he entered the political science department of the school of law at Keio University, associated with the high school, but reportedly spent all his time playing around.
Wanting to become an actor, he auditioned at Toho, Daiei Film and Nikkatsu, but did not pass any of his auditions. However, in 1956, with help from producer Takiko Mizunoe and his brother Shintaro, he received a bit-part in the film adaptation of Shintaro's Akutagawa Prize-winning Season of the Sun, making his film debut. Afterwards he withdrew from Keio University to work for Nikkatsu, playing the lead in the film adaptation of Shintaro's novel Crazed Fruit.
At the 1958 Blue Ribbon Awards Ishihara won the prize for best new actor for the 1957 films Washi to taka and Man Who Causes a Storm. He would go on to become one of the representative stars of the Showa Era with his twin acting and singing career, but his life was one made harder by illness and injury.
In 1960 he married actress Mie Kitahara, his co-star in a number of films beginning in 1956 with Crazed Fruit.
Yūjirō, together with Akira Kobayashi, was the main male star at Nikkatsu on Nikkatsu's move into the Roman Porno soft porn market. Yūjirō founded the Ishihara Productions company to pursue television drama projects as actor, director and producer.
Yūjirō survived a 1978 oral cancer of the tongue, and an 1981 aortic aneurysm, supported by friends, family and his legion of fans. However he was later diagonised with liver cancer and died at Keio University Hospital in 1987 on July 17 at 4:26. He was 52 years old.
Throughout his life Yūjirō used alcohol and tobacco, and ate meals that were lacking in vegetables; this unhealthy lifestyle is generally acknowledged as contributing to his early death.
Legacy and memorials:
Yujiro Ishihara was called a Japanese Elvis Presley and his movies and music are still followed by lovers of the Shōwa period. On the anniversary of his death, 17 July, his mourning ceremony is often rebroadcast on television.
His grave is a granite gorintō, at Sōji-ji temple in Tsurumi, Yokohama, Kanagawa. A memorial museum opened on June 21, 1991 in Otaru, Hokkaido.
He was remembered in 1996 by his brother, Shintaro, in the Mainichibungakusho Special Prize winning biography Otōto (弟), (Younger brother), this was the basis of a 2004 TV Asahi television drama.
His image features on a 1997 Japanese postage stamp.
(Filmography 1956-1959 is complete.)
Season of the Sun (太陽の季節, Taiyō no Kisetsu, 1956) (supporting role),
Crazed Fruit (狂った果実, Kurutta kajitsu, 1956),
The Baby Carriage (乳母車, Ubaguruma, 1956),
Chitei no Uta (地底の歌, 1956),
(月蝕 Gesshoku, 1956),
(人間魚雷出撃す Ningengyorai shutsugekisu, 1956),
(お転婆三人姉妹 Otenba sannin shimai, 1957),
Jazz musume tanjō (ジャズ娘誕生 Jazu musume tanjō, 1957),
(勝利者 Shorisha, 1957),
This Day's Life (今日のいのち Kyo no inochi, 1957),
Sun in the Last Days of the Shogunate (幕末太陽伝 Bakumatsu taiyōden, 1957) as Takasugi Shinsaku,
(海の野郎ども Umi no yarōdomo, 1957),
(鷲と鷹 Washi to taka, 1957),
I Am Waiting (俺は待ってるぜ Ore wa matteru ze, 1957),
Man Who Causes a Storm (嵐を呼ぶ男 Arashi o yobu otoko, aka A Storming Drummer, 1957),
(夜の牙 Yoru no kiba, literally "Fang of the Night", 1958),
Rusty Knife (錆びたナイフ Sabita naifu, 1958),
A Slope in the Sun (陽のあたる坂道 Hi no ataru sakamichi, 1958),
(明日は明日の風が吹く Ashita wa Ashita no Kaze ga Fuku, 1958),
(素晴しき男性 Subarashiki dansei, 1958),
Fūsoku 40 metres (風速４０米 Fūsoku yonjū mētoru, 1958),
Red Quay (赤い波止場 Akai Hatoba, 1958),
(嵐の中を突っ走れ Arashi no naka o tsuppashire, 1958),
(紅の翼 Kurenai no tsubasa, 1958),
The Stream of Youth (若い川の流れ Wakai kawa no nagare, (1959),
(世界を賭ける恋, Sekai o kakeru koi 1959),
(清水の暴れん坊 Shimizu no Abarenbo, 1959),
Alone on the Pacific aka Alone Across the Pacific (太平洋ひとりぼっち Taiheiyo hitori-botchi, 1963),
Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines (1965),
Kurobe's Sun (黒部の太陽; Kurobe no Taiyō, 1968),
Arcadia of My Youth (わが青春のアルカディア Waga Seishun no Arcadia, 1982)
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license