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Takashi Shimizu

AKASHI SHIMIZU, a native of Gunma, Japan, began his film career serving as an apprentice in the props department on Kohei Oguri's film, Nemuru Otoko, in 1995. While freelancing as an assistant director on dozens of television dramas and straightto- video titles, he enrolled at the Tokyo Film Seminar (now the Film School of Tokyo). Following the completion of a short film project for the school in 1998, he was spotted by director Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure) and screenwriter Hiroshi Takahashi (Ringu), and on their recommendation was hired to write and direct the short horror teleplays Katasumi (In A Corner) and 4444444444. The collaboration resulted in Shimizu working again with Takahashi as supervisor and with producer Taka Ichise (producer of Ringu) when he directed the feature-length video versions of Ju-on and Ju-on 2 shortly thereafter.

In 2001, after directing two TV documentaries on psychic phenomena under the supervision of Norio Tsuruta, Shimizu made his theatrical film debut with Tomie: Rebirth. When he directed the theatrical versions of Ju-on (2002) and Ju-on 2 (2003), the films achieved massive box office success in Japan and other Asian countries, establishing Shimizu as pioneer of the new Japanese horror movement. It also brought Shimizu to the attention of producer Sam Raimi, who asked him to recreate his film in English.

When Shimizu's English-language version, retitled The Grudge, opened in the United States in October 2004, the film stayed at the top of the box office for two weeks, earning over $188 million worldwide. It was the first time a Japanese director's work had crossed the $100 million box office gross in the United States.

In his spare time, during his work on The Grudge in 2004, Shimizu directed Marebito in Japan. This extremely low-budget film won the grand prize (Golden Raven Award) at the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film, which marked the first award for Shimizu.

Also in 2004, Shimizu's first TV series, Kaiki Daikazoku, gave him an opportunity to move outside his traditional horror genre and demonstrated his well-known statement: "There is only a fine line between horror and comedy." Collaborating with other Japanese directors of his generation who understood his unique taste for this project, Shimizu prepared a draft of characters and settings. He served as general supervisor for the series and wrote and directed a few principal episodes. This horror comedy series, retitled The Great Horror Family in English, is scheduled to be released in the United States this year.

His latest work Rinne (Reincarnation) was released in Japan in January 2006. The Grudge 2 marks the sixth time, including the originals, that Shimizu has directed his story of the revenge-seeking ghosts.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
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Takashi Shimizu Facts

BirthdayJuly 27, 1972 (51)
BirthplaceMaebashi City, Japan

Selected Filmography

The Grudge
The Grudge 2
Flight 7500
Ten Nights of Dreams
Grudge, the
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