Image: Jûzô Itami
Girl offers oyster with a single drop of blood
Still from Tampopo
Movie poster for Tampopo, a film by Juzo Itami
A tragic end belies a life led with purpose. The son of a successful filmmaker, Juzo Itami made his name acting in television and films before making a late career shift into screenwriting and directing at age 50. Known to choose the subjects of his films through everyday observations, he often followed up significant events in his life with films depicting idiosyncrasies that he felt were unique to the evolving Japanese culture. He was the definition of an iconoclast who took the great Molière's words to heart, "castigat ridendo mores" (criticise customs through humour).