obituary: Tadayoshi Himeda

Kyodo

Documentary filmmaker Tadayoshi Himeda, considered a pioneer in recording disappearing cultures, died Monday of chronic lung illness at a hospital in Yokohama, his family said. He was 84.

Among his more than 100 films are the 1971 “Ainu no Kekkonshiki” (“Wedding Ceremony of the Ainu”), a record of the traditional wedding of the indigenous people as told by elders in Hokkaido’s Nibutani region, and the 1984 “Echigo Oku Miomote,” about a small village in northern Niigata Prefecture facing closure due to dam construction.

Himeda also supervised TV documentaries, including “Nihon no Shijo” (“The Poetry of Japan”).

The Kobe native moved to Tokyo in 1954 and studied under folklorist Tsuneichi Miyamoto. Himeda began filming folk cultures throughout Japan in the early 1960s.

He established the Center for Ethnological Visual Documentation in 1976 and received the French honor “Officier” (Officer) in the Order of Arts and Letters in 1989.