Donald RichieDonald Richie (1924-2013) was born in Lima, Ohio. Richie developed his interest in film as a young child and began to make Super 8 films. In 1947, he went to Japan to serve in the U.S. Occupation forces and soon began to write film reviews for The Pacific Stars and Stripes. Richie went back to the United States in 1949, and graduated from Columbia University in 1953 with a degree in English. In 1954, he returned to Japan, and wrote film and book reviews for The Japan Times and Variety. Named by TIME magazine as "the dean of Japan's art critics," Richie was one of the West's most influential experts on Japanese culture. During the 66 years that he lived in Japan, Richie wrote some 40 books on Japanese films, Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, and Japanese culture, among other subjects. Richie introduced Japanese directors at international film festivals, and served as film curator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1969 to 1972. He taught at Waseda University, the University of Michigan and Temple University, Japan Campus. He authored many books, including The Japanese Film: Art and Industry and A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History and a Selective Guide to Video and DVDs.
Richie received the first Kawakita Award, the most prestigious award in the Japanese film industry, in 1983 for his contribution to disseminate Japanese films abroad. Other awards include the Presidential Citation, New York University in 1989; the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Cultural Award in 1991; the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award in 1993; The Japan Foundation Award in 1995; the Imperial Decoration (the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette) from the Japanese government in 2004. As a filmmaker, his works include Wargames (1962) in collaboration with butoh dancer Tatsumi Hijikata, and Five Philosophical Fables (1967) in collaboration with the Japan Mime Society. Richie, who served on Japan Society's Film Advisory Committee for many years, received the Japan Society Award in 2001 (awarded to him jointly with Mary Griggs Burke) for his contribution to the arts and to a more enlightened U.S.-Japan relationship. He passed away in Tokyo on February 19, 2013.