Donald Richie

Donald Richie in February 2009
For the U.S. Senate historian, see Donald A. Ritchie.

Donald Richie (born 17 April 1924, Lima, Ohio) is an American-born author who has written about the Japanese people and Japanese cinema. Although he considers himself only a writer,[1] Richie has directed many experimental films, the first when he was 17.[2] Although Richie speaks Japanese fluently, he can neither read nor write it proficiently.[3]



During World War II, he served aboard Liberty ships as a purser and medical officer. By then he had already published his first work, "Tumblebugs" (1942), a short story.[4]

In 1947, Richie first visited Japan with the American occupation force, a job he saw as an opportunity to escape from Lima, Ohio. He first worked as a typist, and then as a civilian staff writer for the Pacific Stars and Stripes. While in Tokyo, he became fascinated with Japanese culture, particularly Japanese cinema. He was soon writing movie reviews in the Stars and Stripes. In 1948 he met Kashiko Kawakita who introduced him to Yasujiro Ozu. During their long friendship, Richie and Kawakita collaborated closely in promoting Japanese film in the West.[5]

After returning to the United States, he enrolled at Columbia University's School of General Studies in 1949, and received his Bachelor's Degree in English in 1953. Richie then returned to Japan as film critic for The Japan Times and spent much of the second half of the twentieth century living there. In 1959, he published his first book, The Japanese Film: Art and Industry, coauthored with Joseph Anderson. In this work, the authors gave the first English language account of Japanese film. Richie served as Curator of Film at the New York Museum of Modern Art from 1969 to 1972. In 1988, he was invited to become the first guest director at the Telluride Film Festival.

Among his most noted works on Japan are The Inland Sea, a travel classic, and Public People, Private People, a look at some of Japan's most significant and most mundane people. He has compiled two collections of essays on Japan: A Lateral View and Partial Views. A collection of his writings has been published to commemorate fifty years of writing about Japan: The Donald Richie Reader. The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 consists of extended excerpts from his diaries.

In 1991, filmmakers Lucille Carra and Brian Cotnoir produced a film version of The Inland Sea, which Richie narrated. Produced by Travelfilm Company, the film won numerous awards, including Best Documentary at the Hawaii International Film Festival (1991) and the Earthwatch Film Award. It screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1992.[6]

Author Tom Wolfe describes Richie as: "the Lafcadio Hearn of our time, a subtle, stylish, and deceptively lucid medium between two cultures that confuse one another: the Japanese and the American."[7]

Japanese cinema

Richie's most widely recognized accomplishment has been his analysis of Japanese cinema. From his first published book, Richie has revised not only the library of films he discusses, but the way he analyzes them. With each subsequent book, he has focused less on film theory and more on the conditions in which the films were made. One thing that has emerged in his works is an emphasis on the "presentational" nature of Japan's cinema, in contrast to the "representational" films of the West. His book, A Hundred Years Of Japanese Film includes a helpful guide to the availability of the films on home video and DVD mentioned in the main text. In the foreword to this book, Paul Schrader says: "Whatever we in the West know about Japanese film, and how we know it, we most likely owe to Donald Richie." Richie also has written analyses of two of Japan's best known filmmakers: Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa.

Richie wrote the English subtitles for Akira Kurosawa's films Kagemusha (1980), Red Beard, and Dreams (1990).[8]

In the 21st century, Richie has become noted for his erudite audio commentaries for The Criterion Collection on DVDs of various classic Japanese films, notably those of Ozu (A Story of Floating Weeds and Early Summer), Mikio Naruse (When a Woman Ascends the Stairs), and Kurosawa (Drunken Angel, Rashomon, The Lower Depths, and The Bad Sleep Well), among others.

Books by Donald Richie

  • Botandoro: Stories, Fables, Parables and Allegories: A Miscellany (paperback), Printed Matter Press; 2008; ISBN 978-1-933606-16-3
  • Travels in the East (paperback). Stone Bridge Press. 2007. ISBN 978-1933330617. 
  • A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics (paperback). Stone Bridge Press. 2007. ISBN 978-1933330235. 
  • Japanese Portraits: Pictures of Different People (Tuttle Classics of Japanese Literature) (paperback). Tuttle Publishing. 2006. ISBN 978-0804837729. 
  • Tokyo Nights (paperback). Printed Matter Press; 2005; ISBN 1-933606-00-2
  • A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History, with a Selective Guide to DVDs and Videos. Kodansha International. 2005. ISBN 978-4770029959.  (paperback)
  • The Japan Journals: 1947–2004 (paperback). Stone Bridge Press. 2005. ISBN 978-1880656976. 
  • A View from the Chuo Line and Other Stories (paperback), Printed Matter Press, 2004, SBN 4900178276
  • Japanese Literature Reviewed (hardcover). ICG Muse; 2003; ISBN 4-925080-78-4
  • With Roy Garner. The Image Factory: Fads and Fashions in Japan (paperback). Reaktion Books; 2003; ISBN 1-86189-153-9
  • The Inland Sea (paperback). Stone Bridge Press. 2002. ISBN 978-1880656693. 
  • The Donald Richie Reader: 50 Years of Writing on Japan (paperback). Stone Bridge Press. 2001. ISBN 978-1880656617. 
  • Tokyo: A View of the City (paperback). Reaktion Books; 1999; ISBN 1-86189-034-6
  • Memoirs of the Warrior Kumagai: A Historical Novel (hardcover). Tuttle Publishing; 1999; ISBN 0-8048-2126-7
  • The Films of Akira Kurosawa, Third Edition, Expanded and Updated (paperback). University of California Pres. 1999. ISBN 978-0520220379. 
  • Tokyo (paperback). Reaktion Books. 1999. ISBN 978-1861890344. 
  • Partial Views: Essays on Contemporary Japan (paperback). Japan Times; 1995; ISBN 4-7890-0801-0
  • The Temples of Kyoto (hardback). Tuttle Publishing; 1995; ISBN 0-8048-2032-5
  • The Inland Sea (paperback). Kodansha International; 1993; ISBN 4-7700-1751-0
  • A Lateral View: Essays on Culture and Style in Contemporary Japan (paperback). Stone Bridge Press. 1992. ISBN 978-0962813740. 
  • Japanese Cinema: An Introduction (hardcover). Oxford University Press; 1990; ISBN 0-19-584950-7
  • Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character (paperback). Oxford University Press; 1990; ISBN 0-19-584950-7
  • Introducing Japan (hardcover). Kodansha International; 1987; ISBN 0-87011-833-1
  • Introducing Tokyo (hardcover). Kodansha Inc; 1987; ISBN 0-87011-806-4
  • Focus on Rashomon (hardcover). Rutgers University Press; 1987; ISBN 0-13-752980-5
  • Different People: Pictures of Some Japanese (hardcover). Kodansha Inc; 1987; ISBN 0-87011-820-X
  • A Taste Of Japan (hardcover). 1985. Kodansha Intl. Ltd.. 
  • Zen Inklings: Some Stories, Fables, Parables, and Sermons (Buddhism & Eastern Philosophy) (Paperback) with prints by the author. Weatherhill, 1982. Without prints: 1982. ISBN 78-0834802308
  • With Ian Buruma (photos) (1980). The Japanese Tattoo (hardcover). Weatherhill. 
  • Ozu: His Life and Films (paperback). University of California Press. 1977. ISBN 978-0520032774. 
  • George Stevens: An American Romantic. New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 1970.
  • Companions of the Holiday (hardcover). Weatherhill; 1968; ISBN 1-299-58310-5
  • Erotic Gods Phallicism in Japan (slipcase). Shufushinsha; 1966; ISBN 1-141-44743-6
  • The masters’ book of Ikebana: background and principles of Japanese flower arrangement, edited by Donald Richie & Meredith Weatherby; with lessons by the masters of Japan’s three foremost schools: (hardcover). Bijutsu Shuppansha. 1966. 
  • The Japanese Movie. An Illustrated History (hardcover). Kodansha Ltd; 1965; ISBN 1-141-45003-8
  • Japanese Movies. Japan Travel Bureau, 1961
  • With Joseph L. Anderson. The Japanese Film: Art and Industry (paperback). Princeton University Press; 1959, revised 1983; ISBN 0-691-00792-6
  • Eight American Authors. Kenkyusha. 1956. 
  • This Scorching Earth. Charles E. Tuttle. 1956. 
  • With Watanabe Miyoko. Six Kabuki Plays (paperback). Hokuseido Press; 1953; ISBN 1-299-15754-8
  • Essays in Contemporary American Literature, Drama and Cinema (in Japanese). Hayakawa Shobo. 1950. 
  • The Honorable Visitors. Charles E Tuttle; 1949; ISBN 0-8048-1941-6

Films and books on Donald Richie

  • Sneaking In. Donald Richie's Life in Film. Directed by Brigitte Prinzgau-Podgorschek, Navigator Film Produktion/Peter Stockhaus Filmproduktion, GmbH, Vienna, 2002
  • Silva, Arturo, ed. (2001). The Donald Richie Reader. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press. 10-ISBN 1-880656-61-2; 13-ISBN 978-1-880656-61-7 (cloth)
  • Klaus Volkmer and Olaf Möller.Ricercar fuer Donald Richie. Taschenbuch (1997)

Films by Donald Richie

Donald Richie is the author of about 30 experimental films from five to 47 minutes long, six of which have been published on DVD.[9] None were originally meant for public screening.[10] The pieces on the DVD, all originally shot in 16 mm, are:[10]

  • Wargames, 1962 22 minutes
  • Atami Blues, 1962, 20 minutes, soundtrack by Tōru Takemitsu
  • Boy with Cat, 1967, 5 minutes
  • Dead Youth, 1967, 13 minutes
  • Five Philosophical Fables, 1967, 47 minutes
  • Cybele, 1968, 20 minutes

Among the short works not included in the collection are for example Small Town Sunday (1941, 8 mm), filmed when he was still resident in the United States, A Sentimental Education (1953), Aoyama Kaidan (1957), Shu-e (1958), and Life (1965).[10]

Other films:

  • Akira Kurosawa, 1975, 58 minutes, 35 mm in color and b/w. Produced by Atelier 41 for NTV, Tokyo
  • A Doll, 1968, 16 mm, 20 minutes, in color
  • A couple, 1968, 35 mm, in b/w
  • Nozoki Monogatari, 1967, 16 mm, released by Brandon Films
  • Khajuraho, 1968, 16 mm, in color and b/w


See also

Friends and collaborators:



  1. ^ Midnight Eye Interview
  2. ^ A Pinewood dialogue with Donald Richie retrieved on 2009-01-10
  3. ^
  4. ^ Introduction by Leza Lowitz, in Botandoro by Donald Richie
  5. ^ Donald Richie, "Remembering Madame Kawakita" in: A wreath for Madame Kawakita, Kawakita Memomorial Film Institute, Tokyo 2008, pp. 5-7
  6. ^ VINCENT CANBY (1992-06-17). "Review/Film; Searching for Japan, In a Sea, in a Mind And in Metaphor". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  7. ^ Arturo Silva, ed. (2001). The Donald Richie Reader. Promotional blurb, Thomas Wolfe
  8. ^ a b Donald Richie - Awards
  9. ^ Global Discoveries on DVD retrieved on 2009-01-10.
  10. ^ a b c Midnight Eye review
  11. ^ Donald Richie, "Remembering Madame Kawakita" in: A wreath for Madame Kawakita, Kawakita Memomorial Film Institute, Tokyo 2008, p. 7
  12. ^ Japan Foundation Award, 1995.
  13. ^ Judy Mitoma Receives 2003 Rockefeller 3rd Award accessed on February 10, 2008

Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Donald Richie — Donald Richie, 2009 Donald Richie[1] (* 17. April 1924 in Lima, Ohio[2]) ist ein in den USA gebürtiger Schriftsteller und Journalist, der für seine Schriften über Jap …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Donald Richie — en 2009 Donald Richie, né en 1924 à Lima (Ohio), est un écrivain américain, spécialiste de la culture japonaise et particulièrement du cinéma japonais. Biographie Pendant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il a servi à bord de plusieurs Liberty Ships,… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Richie — is a given name or surname, and may refer to:First nameA given name or nickname which may be short for Richard. Examples of this use include: * Richie Ashburn, a baseball hall of famer. * Richie Benaud, cricketing legend. * Richie Byrne, an Irish …   Wikipedia

  • Richie — ist eine Abwandlung des deutschen Vornamen Richard. Richie ist der Nachname folgender Personen: Donald Richie (* 1924), ein US amerikanischer Schriftsteller und Journalist Lionel Richie (* 1949), ein US amerikanischer R B Sänger Nicole Richie (*… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Richie — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Richie est à la fois un prénom masculin et un nom de famille d origine anglo saxonne. Lorsque c est un diminutif, il est parfois orthographié Ritchie. Il… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Donald A. Ritchie — For the Japanese cinema author, see Donald Richie. Donald A. Ritchie Donald A. Ritchie in 2011. Born December 23, 1945(1945 12 23) …   Wikipedia

  • Richie Rich (film) — Richie Rich Données clés Réalisation Donald Petrie Scénario Neil Tolkin et Tom S. Parker Acteurs principaux Macaulay Culkin, Edward Herrmann, Michael McShane, Claudia Schiffer, Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Hyde, John Larroquette Pays d’origin …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Donald Charles Baldwin — (born 20 April 1953) is a United States musician, arranger and composer who achieved significant commercial success with recordings he wrote, arranged and performed for Motown Records and Invictus/Hot Wax Records from 1970 to 1980. Notable work… …   Wikipedia

  • Richie Rich (película) — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Richie Rich Título Richie Rich Solicita una imagen para este artículo. Ficha técnica …   Wikipedia Español

  • Donald Petrie — Born April 2, 1954 (1954 04 02) (age 57) New York City, New York Occupation Television actor, director Donald Mark Petrie[1] (born April 2, 1954) …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.