Famed Japanese director Kon Ichikawa has died of pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital, according to family members. He was 92-years-old.
Born in 1915 in Mie Prefecture, Ichikawa began his career as an animator in the 30s, moving into feature directing with puppet play A Girl At Dojo Temple in 1946 at Toho Studios.
Ichikawa met writer Natto Wada at Toho and they married in 1948. Wada would become Ichikawa's main collaborator, writing the scripts for most of his key works from the late 40s to the mid 60s including literary adaptations Enjo (aka The Temple Of The Golden Pavillion) in 1958, Fires On The Plain (1959) and Robert Towne favourite An Actor's Revenge (1963).
Ichikawa worked in a variety of genres and styles, gaining international acclaim for his work. Anti-war epic The Burmese Harp (1956), produced at Nikkatsu Studios, won prizes in Venice and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film.
Ichikawa's films competed for the Palme d'Or two years in a row with The Key (aka Odd Obsession) in 1960 and Ototo in 1961, winning the Jury Prize and Technical Grand Prize respectively.
Ichikawa's widescreen chronicle of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Tokyo Olympiad, won two BAFTA awards and marked one of Ichikawa's final collaborations with Wada, who passed away in 1983.
Ichikawa continued directing into his 70s and 80s, helming commercial successes such as 1975's I Am A Cat, based on Soseki Natsume's novel, and several films based on popular fictional detective Kosuke Kindaichi.
Ichikawa's final directing credits included a segment in omnibus film Ten Nights Of Dreams and his own 2006 30-year anniversary remake of 1976's Kindaichi murder mystery The Inugamis, which premiered at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Ichikawa's final film credit will be a cameo appearance as a film director in Fuji TV's upcoming crime comedy The Magic Hour.