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Masaru Ikeo 

Masaru Ikeo at Jackson Hole, 2009

An award-winning producer and executive producer of natural history films for more than 35 years, Masaru Ikeo began his filmmaking career in 1973 when he joined Japan’s national public broadcasting organisation, NHK.

Masaru developed his passion for nature growing up in the rural countryside of Japan, and whilst producing short television news pieces for NHK, this love of the outdoors would take him climbing around the Kanazawa mountain range. Here, he managed to capture rare footage of breeding marsh harriers, which became a short film broadcast locally, and then approved for nationwide distribution on the popular but sole Japanese natural history series at that time, The Nature Album.

For the next two years, Masaru produced films about Japanese macaques for The Nature Album slot. Eventually, he became an executive producer for NHK’s natural history content, and he began to develop international relationships, notably collaborating with 10 other international broadcasters in 1984 to co-produce a 12 part series about climate change entitled Miracle Planet. Masaru also produced the popular weekly series The Global Family, a prime time Japanese natural history programme broadcast year round since 1989.

Masaru pioneered the use of new High Definition (HD) video formats, using it to produce HD natural history films as early as 1991. He promoted this new technology internationally and in 1999, he became the executive producer for the HD channel in Japan. In 2003, he produced the ambitious Miracle Continent: Antarctica; a project which included a series of science documentaries and live HD transmissions from the South Pole.

Masaru has continued to co-produce internationally, working on many award-winning productions including The Equator with Natural History New Zealand (NHNZ), Planet Earth with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The Queen of Trees with Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone, and The Big Blue with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). He has maintained strong international relationships with many broadcasters including TV Ontario, France 5, Discovery and Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen (ZDF) amongst others.

In 2008, to mark his contributions to wildlife filmmaking, he was awarded the prestigious Christopher Parsons Lifetime Achievement award at the Wildscreen Film Festival in Great Britain. Always at the forefront of technological advancements for film and media, Masaru is now the executive producer for the 3D and Super HD Centre, NHK Media Technologies.

Oral History

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Masaru Ikeo at Jackson Hole, 2009
Masaru Ikeo at Jackson Hole, 2009