It is a great honor for me to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women's International Film & Television Showcase, it only saddens me that my husband, Tony Blanco, cannot be with me to share this moment, as he would be as honored and proud as I am.
I congratulate you on the beautiful initiative to support and celebrate the dedication, passion and integrity of women in film everywhere, and I thank TheWIFTS Board for considering me worthy of this precious award. I am very sorry to be unable to receive it in person. Thank you!
THE WOMEN'S INTERNATIONAL
FILM & TELEVISION SHOWCASE
DECEMBER 10TH 2017
Passion & Integrity
Commerce & Creativity
Equality Not Hierarchy
Kikuko Ireton - Japan
Lifetime Achievement Award
Kikuko Ireton is the recipient of TheWIFTS Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 (Posthumously) for her extraordinary achievements in her lifetime in Publishing and the Arts in consulting and collaborating with Japanese film companies which assisted them in their quest to global recognition.
Seven Samurai (1954), one of Japan’s great masterpieces directed by Akira Kurosawa and distributed by Toho in Japan. Courtesy British Film Institute.
Kikuko Ireton co-founded Movie/TV Marketing, a pioneering English-language trade journal about the domestic Japanese film industry, and was a pioneer of the Japanese arts consulting with Japanese companies to distribute their films into the international markets.
Kikuko Kobayashi met and married Glenn Ireton, an American who went to Japan in 1951 and was working for the Civil Information and Education Section of the Supreme Command of Allied Powers, which governed Japan during the period of Allied Occupation from 1945 to 1952.
In 1953, the couple started Far East Film News, an English-language trade paper covering the regional motion picture business. Later known as Movie/TV Marketing, the journal continued to be published for half a century. The Iretons also hosted executives from Hollywood studios on their visits to Japan, such as Paramount Pictures President George Weltner and Universal Pictures Executive Vice President Al Daff, who both foresaw in the early 1950s that Japan would become the biggest market in Asia for Hollywood films.
At the height of the international independent business of buying and selling movies in the 1970s through to early 2000s, Movie/TV Marketing was a respected source of information for filmmakers and executives of news and information on films and companies in Japan and on film companies in the West for the industry in Japan.
Prior to and at the beginning of the 1970s when the worldwide independent business was burgeoning, Movie/TV Marketing was the only trade paper presenting news about the Japanese film industry to the world in English.
The Iretons were also instrumental in introducing Japanese films at the major international festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, in collaboration with such leading film industry executives as Shiro Kido of the Shochiku studio, Ichizo Kobayashi of Toho, Masaichi Nagata of Daiei, and Shigeru Okada of Toei.
The Ballad of Narayama - source courtesy Mubi.com
The jury of the Cannes International Film Festival in 1983 for the first time awarded the Palme D‘Or, to The Ballad of Narayama (1983), a film by the Japanese director Shohei Imamura that portrays the customs through which the people of a primitive Japanese village dealt with aging and death. The film stars Sumiko Sakamoto as Orin, Ken Ogata, and Shoichi Ozawa. It is an adaptation of the book Narayama bushikō by Shichirō Fukazawa.The film was distributed in Japan by Toei Company, Ltd.
Following the passing of Glenn, Kikuko continued to publish Movie/TV Marketing together with her daughter Asia. Following the closure of the magazine, in her later years, Kikuko continued to consult for the Japanese motion picture industry, and was in the process of filing what was to be her final report in January 2017, when she passed away.
Kikuko Ireton is survived by her son William, a former president of Warner Entertainment Japan, who now heads his own production company, Ireton Entertainment Inc., and her daughter Asia, who was recently appointed President of Cente in Los Angeles. Cente is a divison of the Tohokushinsha Film Corporation group company based in Japan established in 1961, and functions as its U.S. arm.
Kikuko Ireton was born in 1929. She was the second daughter of Shoichiro Kobayashi, a bank executive, and his wife, Fumiko.
Compiled and edited including extracts courtesy of an article by Mark Schilling in the Japan Times 2017.