« ドクターと打ち合わせ | トップページ | 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「理想の自分」こだわらず /東京 »

2009年11月15日 (日)


--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 13(IHT/Asahi: November 14,2009)
EDITORIAL: Hisaya Morishige dies.

Hisaya Morishige, an actor who was capable of playing a great variety of roles, died Tuesday.

At times, he was known to have his audience in stitches with his light and comical acting. At other times, he depicted the joys and sorrows of ordinary people full of tender human feelings.

Morishige could play the part of a dignified politician just as well as that of a lazy husband dependent on his wife. He was also a good talker and skillful writer.

With his magnanimity and profundity as an actor, Morishige continued to reflect postwar Japanese society.

After dropping out of Waseda University, Morishige joined the Toho theatrical company and was called up for military service in 1938. Because of an ear disease, he was soon discharged. He went to Manchuria in northeastern China the following year as an announcer of Japan Broadcasting Corp. (NHK).

He was there when Japan lost the war.

After the war, he returned to acting and attracted public attention as a talented comedian on a radio show.

Morishige made his name on the silver screen with "Santo Juyaku" (Third-class executive) released in 1952. In it, he played a happy-go-lucky section chief who helps an employee who became president after his predecessor stepped down to take responsibility for supporting the war effort.

Later, Morishige starred in the "Shacho" (company president) series that continued until the early 1970s. Comically depicting company workers, the shows fueled the golden age of Japanese cinema.

Since the mid-1960s, Morishige had appeared on many television home dramas, playing the parts of a grandfather or a father who was the mainstay of the family.

In the 1973 film "Kokotsu no Hito" (A person in a state of ecstasy), Morishige gave a realistic performance of an old man suffering from dementia. It was decades before society started to seriously address the problem of nursing care.

Morishige portrayed cheerful and energetic company workers during a period of high economic growth, fathers when society sought new images of the family, and then showed the reality of an aging society.

He was active in radio, movies and television, each of which was the most influential medium at the time.

As a stage actor, Morishige was probably best known for his performance in the musical "Fiddler on the Roof," giving 900 performances from 1967. His portrayal of a Jewish father in czarist Russia struck a chord with Japanese audiences.
In 1982, the musical successfully completed a long run for six months, which was unusual at that time. Morishige was also one of the actors who built the foundation of the musical boom today.

In 1991, Morishige became the first actor of modern theater to be awarded the Order of Culture. Unlike such established traditional art forms as Kabuki and Noh, modern drama is a form of entertainment for ordinary contemporary people.
Morishige positioned modern drama as an authoritative form of performing art.

When he received the order, he said, "The doors to the 21st century have opened," underscoring his self-pride and deep emotion.

Morishige's starting point was based on his harsh wartime experience of returning to Japan from Manchuria. He later repeatedly spoke and wrote about how he lived with a fear of death.

In his autobiography, he wrote that he built his own grave using the money he received for his first starring role in a film, which was released in 1950.

"I picked up the second half of my life and I wanted to at least properly prepare my resting place," he wrote.

It has nearly been 60 years since then. The curtain has finally dropped on Morishige's "illustrious and leisurely" life that he envisioned. He was 96. What a spectacular life.


« ドクターと打ち合わせ | トップページ | 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「理想の自分」こだわらず /東京 »





« ドクターと打ち合わせ | トップページ | 香山リカのココロの万華鏡:「理想の自分」こだわらず /東京 »