Nakahira, Kō (1926–1978) By Amit, Rea
Nakahira Kō was a prolific and wide-ranging Japanese film director who, during his relatively short career, directed more than forty feature-length films. He began his career as an apprentice at the Shōchiku Studio, working as an assistant to such prominent directors as Kurosawa Akira and Kawashima Yūzō. He moved to Nikkatsu and his directorial debut, Kurutta kajitsu [Crazed Fruit] (1956), was one of the works known as Taiyōzoku [Sun Tribe] films, that were adaptations of novels written by Shintarō Ishihara, and showcased rebellious youth. This film and others led the critic and filmmaker, ōshima Nagisa, to place Nakahira among the new modernists of Japanese cinema, highlighting in particular his experiments with narrative and cinematic form. Nakahira, however, was not always as radical in his filmmaking as the directors who would later form the New Wave. He was also involved in mainstream cinema, writing and directing, for example, Kurenai no tsubasa [Crimson Wings] in 1958, a sensational blockbuster that became one of the biggest box office successes of the decade. In the latter half of the 1960s Nakahira became one of the early transnational directors of the postwar era, working in Hong Kong where he directed films for the Shaw Brothers Studio.