In 2009, The Asia Pacific Screen Awards and FIAPF-International Federation of Film Producers Associations honoured Japan’s Isao Matsuoka, former Chairperson of Toho Company, with the FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in Film in the Asia Pacific region.
Isao Matsuoka joined Toho Company in 1957 following his graduation from Konan University. He became a studio executive in 1970, Vice President in 1974 and President in 1977. He was appointed Chairperson of the studios in 1995, a position he held until his retirement in May 2009. He was then appointed as Honorary Chairperson of Toho in 2009.
Matsuoka is credited with establishing Toho as the undisputed leader in film production, distribution, exhibition and live theatre production in Japan today.
Established in 1932, Toho is known worldwide for the success of the Godzilla monster films which have won fans across the globe. Other notable films include Nihon Chinbotsu (1973) a film based on a bestselling novel that triggered a great leap for Toho’s film division; Akira Kurosawa’s epic samurai war film, Kagemusha, which won the Palme d’Or at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival; and World War II drama, Rengo Kantai (1981).
In the 1970s, Matsuoka revolutionised the company with innovative ideas and bold reforms at a time when Toho in particular was feeling the impact of the Japanese industry in crisis. He restructured the organisation by creating the film programming department and consolidated it with the marketing, distribution and exhibition departments to assist in streamlining the film business and maximising the company’s revenue.
These actions quickly rejuvenated the organisation and, in 1978, made Toho the number one distributor in terms of annual box office for both domestic and international films. Over the next 30 years, Toho was ranked 22 times as the highest annual grossing distributor. Eight of last year’s top ten domestic films were distributed by Toho.
In addition to his many industry board appointments, Mr. Matsuoka has also served as a director on the boards of six publicly-traded companies in various fields such as television broadcasting, hotels and railroads.
Industry Board Appointments
June 1976 Director of Federation of Japanese Films Industry, Inc.
June 1977 Director of Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, Inc.
April 1985 Director of Japan Association of International Promotion of the Moving Image
Sep 1988 Director of Japan Association of Major Theatres
May 1995 President of Motion Pictures Producers Association of Japan, Inc.
June 2008 President of Federation of Japanese Films Industry, Inc.
May 1998 ‘Blue Ribbon Medal’ awarded by the Japanese government for his dedication to the growth of the motion picture industry
Dec 1998 CineAsia ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’
March 2007 ShoWest ‘International Lifetime Achievement Award’
November 2009 Asia Pacific Screen Awards FIAPF Award for Outstanding Achievement in film