Director Akio Jissoji #2

Akio Jissoji in 1962 (the year when I was born!)

At any rate, Akio Jissoji appears to have been a man seen as someone who thinks outside the box far exceeding behavioral patters often found among Japanese, which can probably make him called a “maverick” in this sense while I can’t resist feeling some sort of empathy with him as I have been dealt with as sort of a maverick among the Japanese somehow too (I hope I will not sound boastful).

He is described as the only Japanese director who dealt with movies and operas while it doesn’t seem to be a rarity overseas, which might indicate how much different he had been from conventional Japanese people.

Anyway, after he joined TBS, it is said that he played active roles in his work for TV dramas and live coverage shows as a director whereas his staging didn’t get to win approval of the TBS producers because it could have been thought of as too surreal in a way as Jissoji had a lot of still photos included in the scenes (I guess it could have been done like Ultraman Episode 35 showing the fight scenes between Ultraman and Seabose with the still photos as you should know) or had a street interview appear abruptly and irrelevantly in the midst of the show.


It is told that he went so far as to have snow fall in the ending scene of a TV drama aired in 1962 by applying abrupt cut-to-black to the scene even though the snowfall was totally irrelevant to it. Of course Jissoji was yelled at by the TBS producers who strongly complained to him, “Why did you have snow fall of all things???”

They say it was Eiji Tsuburaya who praised young Jissoji for the staging by saying to him, “It was a pretty nice arrangement. You should have had much more snowfall, though.” (I definitely love these people’s crazy thoughts!)

Moreover, while dealing with Hibari Misora, a late Japanese major star singer who had prominently gained unparalleled popularity (I think she is often referred to as one of the greatest Japanese singers of all time who goes down in history), in a live coverage TV show in 1963, Jissoji’s strange way to stage the show allegedly sparked a flood of complaints from the audience and producers because Jissoji had the back of her throat persistently shot while she was singing so that even the close-up of her uvula was shown to the audience through the screen or, conversely, had her shot in such full shots that she kept being shown just as small as a pea on the stage.

2 thoughts on “Director Akio Jissoji #2”

  1. Thank you for writing these entries on Akio Jissoji! I enjoy learning more about him. I got the Jissoji Akio Kenkyu Tokuhon when it came out three years ago, and I have been slowly reading it. Among his works, I also like the jidai geki series Kaze. I have two episodes of Kaze on an old VHS video tape. And I was surprised to learn that he did the opening titles for Kozure Ookami! This series was very popular in Hawaii, and they reran it several times so that it ran for many years. In fact, many of the jidai geki series were very popular, such as Zenigata Heiji, which was so popular that it was on every weeknight Monday through Friday! It was fun to watch the various jidai geki series and recognize some of the Ultra actors, such as Hishimi in one of the Hissatsu series, and Moritsugu in Yagyu Abaretabi and Abarenbo Shogun.

    1. Thank YOU for the information, RT! I didn’t know jidai geki period dramas have been so popular in Hawaii! Although I am not a fan of jidai geki shows unfortunately, I definitely know the names of the series you mentioned!

      Yes, it is often referred to that Susumu Kurobe (Hayata in Ultraman) appeared in jidai geki shows rather frequently as a “villain” while I failed to see many of them.
      I vividly remember Koji Moritsugu had regularly appeared in Zenigata Heiji for a certain period of time as Heiji’s superior. I tried to watch the show every time then only to see Moritusgu. It was a bit shame to find he didn’t turn into Seven anymore by picking up Ultra Eye out of his kimono and saying “Duwa”! 🙂

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