Born in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, in 1938. Obayashi started his career as a pioneering director of short experimental films before making his feature film debut with the eventual cult hit House in 1977. Since then, he directed 43 feature films and over 2,000 commercials, earning himself an international reputation through film festivals and numerous awards. Many of his films contain fantasy or sci-fi elements, marked by a sense of freedom and expressive visual experimentation. Despite being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2016 and given six months to live, Obayashi completed two critically lauded anti-war films: Hanagatami (JC 2018) and Labyrinth of Cinema (2019), his final film. He passed away on April 10, 2020 at the age of 82.
“To keep a smile, to live, and to make tomorrow a little better than today. That’s why I make films. So, you guys continue the rest, okay?” —Nobuhiko Obayashi