Yoshimitsu Morita, Acclaimed Japanese Director, Dies at 61

Yoshimitsu Morita, a self-taught film director whose movies depicted dysfunctional families, competitive educational problems and other issues prevalent in Japan in the 80s, has died. He was 61.

Morita, who made his directorial debut in 1981, died Tuesday (Dec. 20) at a Tokyo hospital. The cause of death, according to a report by the Washington Post, was acute liver failure.

Nominated for eight Japanese Academy Awards over the course of his 30-year film career, Morita made a splash among global movie buffs with 1983’s “Family Game,” which was voted the best film of the year by Japanese critics.

The dark comedy, which starred Yusaku Matsuda of “Black Rain” as an offbeat tutor who forms a heartwarming relationship with a young man in a stereotypical middle-class family, also won him the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award.

In addition to family games, Morita’s other works – which include “Tsubaki Sanjuro,” a 2007 remake of the 1962 classic by Akira Kurosawa, as well as works based on novels such as Soseki Natsume’s poetic “Sorekara” and Junichi Watanabe’s “Shitsurakuen” – landed him numerous other awards and have been shown at many international film festivals, including Berlin and Montreal.

Funeral arrangements were still undecided. Yoshimitsu Morita is survived by his wife Misao.

via Washington Post