Kazuo Hasegawa, a handsome Kabuki star known as Chojiro Hayashi until 1938, attracted an enormous following as soon as he joined the Shochiku Studio. His romantic features and soft movements, which he learned from his training as an onnagata (female impersonator), thoroughly enchanted his fans. He studied with the director Teinosuke Kinugasa who had also been an onnagata. Kinugasa understood this actor’s quality well, and continued to collaborate with him for several decades. Hasegawa also made countless swordplay films for the directors Fuyushima, Inuzuka, Inoue, Koishi, Hoshi, and Futakawa. Not content to rely on his Kabuki background, Hasegawa meticulously studied camera positions and lighting to understand how to present his attractive features most effectively in the film medium. For example, he consciously favored his left profile which was believed to be the better.
Among his 301 films, Hasegawa played period heroes such as samurais and lords, as well as detectives, actors, burglars, and gamblers. He most often played the familiar romantic type with high moral standards, struggling against injustice with the power of his sword. His acting style is elegant, with well-paced movement and delivery of dialogue. One of his most successful roles was in Kinugasa’s Yokino-jo-henge in 1935–36, which Hasegawa remade for Kon Ichikawa in 1963. Drawn from the Kabuki theater are such elements as the complicated plot, the actor playing multiple roles (Hasegawa plays the vengeful Kabuki actor Yukino-jo, his mother, and the Robin Hood-like burglar who assists the actor in obtaining vengeance), as well as the concept of a play-within-a-play. The critical and popular success of this film led to the production of several sequels, all using Hasegawa.
Hasegawa’s contemporary roles include romantic lovers in the Shochiku Studio’s light-comic shomingeki (ordinary people’s life) film genre and in the Toho Studio’s wartime romances set in China, in which he played a Japanese man loved by a Chinese girl. His other successful roles include those of a doomed lover in Mizoguchi’s Chikamatsu monogatari, which brought him international recognition, and his role as a brave warrior in Kinugasa’s Jigoku-mon. These films were energetically exported under the auspices of the Daiei Studio, for which Hasegawa was the main star of the 1950s.
- 钱形平次捕物控 美人鲛(1961年)
- 钱形平次捕物控 美人蜘蛛(1960年)
- 山田长政 王者の剣(1959年)
- 銭形平次捕物控 八人の花嫁(1958年)