Keisuke Kinoshita is considered one of the cinematic masters of the Japanese postwar generation, a generation almost completely overshadowed by the titanic presence of Akira Kurosawa. Kinoshita's films combine wild cinematic invention with sentimental plot. Though his films found a wide audience in Japan, but they have rarely been seen abroad.
Born in December 1912, Kinoshita was the son of a grocer in the Hamamatsu, Shizuoka prefecture. From a very young age, he became a passionate cinema buff. Though he dutifully attended a technical high school at his parents' behest, he dreamed of work in film. Upon hearing that the best way to crack into the industry was as a cinematographer, Kinoshita promptly enrolled in the Oriental Photography School. In 1933, after graduation, he applied at Shochiku studios for a job as an assistant cameraman, but he could only muster a job in the film-processing lab. Eventually, he got a job as an assistant to Yasujiro Shimazu's cinematographer. Though he spent three years as a camera assistant, he was frequently reprimanded for watching acting rehearsals instead of focusing on the camera, until Kozaburo Yoshimura, an assistant under Shimazu who would later become a major director in his own right, suggested that Kinoshita transfer to the directors' section. Two years later, Kinoshita managed to do just that after Shimazu's chief assistant Shiro Toyoda was promoted to director. He spent six years along side Yoshimura as assistant director, working exceedingly long hours and enduring Shimazu's famously autocratic demeanor on the set.