Shinsuke Ogawa

Shinsuke Ogawa

Actor, Director


Shinsuke Ogawa (1935-1992) was an influential Japanese documentary filmmaker and film theorist. He is best known for his landmark documentary films, The Story of the Matsukawa River (1970) and The Family of Oyama (1973).

Ogawa was born in 1935 in Tokyo, Japan. He studied at Waseda University, graduating in 1959. He then began working as a freelance documentary filmmaker, creating short films for television. In 1960, he co-founded the Ogawa Productions film company with fellow filmmaker Shigeo Nakayama. In 1968, Ogawa and Nakayama founded the “Independent Theater” in Tokyo, which focused on screening non-mainstream films.

Ogawa's most famous films are The Story of the Matsukawa River (1970) and The Family of Oyama (1973). The Story of the Matsukawa River is a documentary about the community of a small riverside village in Japan, and the impact of modern industrialization on their traditional way of life. The Family of Oyama is a documentary about a family in the rural town of Oyama, and their struggle to keep their traditional lifestyle in an increasingly modern world.

Ogawa's films are known for their observational style, avoiding interviews and narration and instead relying on the images to tell the story. He was also known for his use of long takes and his refusal to use any kind of artificial lighting. He believed that this allowed the viewer to experience the film in a more “natural” way.

Ogawa's films were highly influential in Japan, and he has been cited as an inspiration by many contemporary filmmakers. He was also a respected film theorist, and wrote several books on the subject, including Film Theory and Criticism and The Aesthetics of Film.

Throughout his career, Ogawa was the recipient of many awards, including the Mainichi Film Award for Best Film in 1971 for The Story of the Matsukawa River, and the Grand Prix at the Berlin International Film Festival in 1982 for The Family of Oyama.

Ogawa passed away in 1992, leaving behind a legacy of influential and groundbreaking documentary films. His films continue to inspire filmmakers today, and his influence on the Japanese film industry is still felt.

Known for