Film director Nobuhiko Obayashi passed away on Friday due to lung cancer. He was 82.
Obayashi received the diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer in August 2016, and he was given three months to live. Nevertheless, the director nicknamed "cinematic magician" lived nearly four more years, and reportedly said at the Tokyo International Film Festival in November 2019, "I want to make films for another 3,000 years."
The Hiroshima native began his 60-year career by directing commercials, including a Mandom men's care campaign featuring Charles Bronson. He made his feature film directorial debut with House in 1977. Obayashi's most well-known works include 1982's Exchange Students and 1985's Lonely Heart. Obayashi also helmed the 1987 live-action film adaptation of Kazuo Umezu's The Drifting Classroom manga, 1984 anime film Shōnen Keniya, and 1983 live-action film adaptation of Yasutaka Tsutsui's The Girl Who Leapt Through Time novel. The director has an upcoming film titled Labyrinth of Cinema, which was slated to open in Japan on Friday but delayed due to the spread of COVID-19.
The Japanese government announced Obayashi as a recipient of Person of Cultural Merit honor in October 2019. Obayashi received the Medal with Purple Ribbon and The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette honors from the Japanese government in 2004 and 2009, respectively.
Sources: Sports Hochi, NTV's Twitter account via Hachima Kikō