Yoichi Sai, the longstanding head of the Directors Guild of Japan and the director of award-winning films such as “Blood and Bones,” died on Nov. 27 at his home in Tokyo.
Who is Yoichi Sai?
Sai, a pioneering veteran of Japanese cinema, was born to a Japanese mother and a Korean in Nagano Prefecture. From 2004 until 2014, he was the Leader of the Directors Guild of Japan. In Japan, “All Under the Moon,” starring Goro Kishitani and Ruby Moreno, received several film awards. It follows a cab driver of Korean heritage who falls in love with a Filipina bartender in Tokyo. Sai received the Japan Academy Film Prize for best director for “Blood and Bones,” which starred Takeshi Kitano as the main. This Korean man emigrated to Osaka, Japan, in the 1920s during Japan’s colonial rule over the Korean Peninsula.
Yoichi Sai’s Filmography Career:
After leaving the Tokyo College of Photography, he started working as a lighting assistant in the motion picture industry in 1968. After beginning as a prop, he quickly transitioned to the production team. He collaborated with Nagisa Oshima on the 1978 film “In the Realm of the Senses.” (1978), as well as acted as the principal assistant director for Toru Murakawa’s 1978 movie “Motto Kiken, a yogi.” For “All Under the Moon,” which clearly shows the highs and lows of Koreans and other immigrants living in Japan, he received tremendous attention and multiple honours in 1993. He went on to direct numerous other noteworthy films, such as “Quill: The Life of a Guide Dog” and “Marks no Yama” (Marks’ mountain). The 1993 premiere of “Tsuki was Docchi ni Date Iru,” directed by Sai, featured foreigners residing in Japan.
Awards and Achievements of Yoichi Sai:
Sai won the Best Director award at the Japan Academy Film Prize in 2004 for “Blood and Bones,” a movie about ethnic Koreans residing in Japan. He led the Directors Guild of Japan as president from 2004 to June this year. Sai also performed in movies like Oshima’s “Gohatto” (“Taboo”) as an actor. 2009’s “Kamui Gaiden” was his final movie for a theatre audience. Sai also portrayed Shinsengumi’s Isami Kondo in Oshima’s 1999 film “Gohatto”. Sai advanced film directors’ rights from 2004 to June and served as the Directors Guild of Japan’s president. This year. He was frequently hospitalised for cancer treatment in his final years. Sai made his battle with bladder cancer public in January.
Condolences to Yoichi Sai:
In a statement, “Blood and Bones” actor Beat Takeshi, 75, said: “I’m heartbroken to lose another film colleague from my generation. We quarrelled, drank, and did a lot of stuff while making the movie with Sai. They are all pleasant memories. Goro Kishitani, 58, who played the lead in “All Under the Moon,” praised Sai and his crew for their boisterous, vibrant, delicate, and original shooting style. According to a remark from Kishitani, “I wanted him to do more movies.” Kishitani remarked, “Director Sai taught me how fascinating and amazing a movie might be. “I adored the dynamic, untamed, and sheer quality of the exceptional filmmaking experience, which could only have been made possible by Mr Sai and his group.