Famous Japanese Directors

Find out more about the greatest Japanese film Directors, including Hayao Miyazaki, Akira Kurosawa, Osamu Tezuka, Takeshi Kitano and Takashi Miike.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Japanese Directors

 1 Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki.
4
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: January 5, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bunkyō

Considered one of the most prominent filmmakers in the history of animated films, Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese animator and manga artist. A co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki has gained worldwide acclaim as a maker of animated films and a masterful storyteller. Miyazaki has served as an inspiration to several world-renowned animators and directors, including James Cameron and Wes Anderson.

 2 Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa.
4
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: March 23, 1910
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shinagawa City, Tokyo, Japan
Died: September 6, 1998

Akira Kurosawa was a Japanese filmmaker. Widely considered one of the most influential and important filmmakers of all time, Kurosawa's works opened up Western film markets to the products of the Japanese entertainment industry, enabling other Japanese filmmakers to achieve international recognition. Such is his impact as a filmmaker that he is credited with contributing to the development of Asia.

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 3 Asa Akira

Asa Akira.
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: January 3, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

 4 Mark Dacascos

Mark Dacascos.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 26, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Mark Dacascos is an actor, trained martial artist, and TV personality. He is proficient in the Wun Hop Kuen Do style of martial arts and has won several karate and kung fu championships. As an actor, he is best known for his role in the action-horror film Brotherhood of the Wolf. He is married to actress Julie Condra.  

 5 Yukio Mishima

Yukio Mishima.
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Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: January 14, 1925
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Yotsuya, Tokyo
Died: November 25, 1970

Japanese author, poet, and playwright Yukio Mishima is counted amongst the most important Japanese authors of the 20th century. His best-known works feature a fusion of traditional Japanese and modern Western literary styles. He was the founder of the Tatenokai, an unarmed private militia dedicated to traditional Japanese values. He was considered controversial due to his political activities. 

 6 Yasujiro Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: December 12, 1903
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fukagawa district, Tokyo, Japan
Died: December 12, 1963

 7 Osamu Tezuka

Osamu Tezuka
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Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Mangaka, Animator, Physician, Writer, Designer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: November 3, 1928
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Toyonaka
Died: February 9, 1989

Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese manga artist, cartoonist, animator, and film director. He revolutionized the manga genre in Japan and was lovingly called  "the Godfather of Manga". A prolific artist, he created works for both children and adult-oriented projects. He was the recipient of several awards, including the Winsor McCay Award and the Japan Cartoonists Association Award. 

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 8 Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano
3
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: January 18, 1947
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Adachi, Tokyo, Japan

Takeshi Kitano is a Japanese comedian, TV presenter, author, actor, and filmmaker. He gained international fame in the 1970s as one half of the comedy duo Two Beat. He later pursued a solo act and became one of the top comedians in Japan. He then ventured into acting and direction as well. He won the Golden Lion award in 1997.   

 9 Masahiro Sakurai

Masahiro Sakurai
3
Famous As: Game Designers
Birthdate: August 3, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Musashimurayama, Tokyo, Japan

 10 Takashi Miike

Takashi Miike
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Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Actor
Birthdate: August 24, 1960
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Yao

 11 Isao Takahata

Isao Takahata
3
Famous As: Film director, Animator, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 29, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ise

 12 Tetsuya Nomura

Tetsuya Nomura
3
Famous As: Video game artist
Birthdate: October 8, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kochi, Japan

 13 Shinji Mikami

Shinji Mikami
3
Famous As: Video game designer
Birthdate: August 11, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Japan

 14 Gorō Miyazaki

Gorō Miyazaki
3
Famous As: Film director, Animator, Screenwriter, Architect
Birthdate: January 21, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tokyo

 15 Mamoru Hosoda

Mamoru Hosoda
3
Famous As: Film director, Animator, Screenwriter, Animation director
Birthdate: September 19, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Kamiichi

 16 Eiji Tsuburaya

Eiji Tsuburaya
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Famous As: cinematographer, television producer, film director
Birthdate: July 7, 1901
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sukagawa
Died: January 25, 1970

 17 Masaaki Yuasa

Masaaki Yuasa
2
Famous As: Screenwriter, Animator, Film director
Birthdate: March 16, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Fukuoka

 18 Hironobu Sakaguchi

Hironobu Sakaguchi
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Famous As: Game designer
Birthdate: November 25, 1962
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hitachi, Ibaraki, Japan

Hironobu Sakaguchi is a Japanese writer, video game designer, producer, and director. Sakaguchi is credited with creating the popular anthology science fantasy media franchise Final Fantasy. He is also credited with selling more than 100 million units of video games worldwide. In 2004, Sakaguchi founded an independent video game development studio named Mistwalker Corporation.

 19 Hirokazu Koreeda

Hirokazu Koreeda.
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Famous As: Director, Producer
Birthdate: June 6, 1962
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Hirokazu Koreeda is a Japanese film director, producer, and screenwriter. He loved movies from an early age and began his career as an assistant director on documentaries for TV. Eventually, he turned to screenwriting and direction and found tremendous success. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d'Or. 

 20 Mamoru Oshii

Mamoru Oshii
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Mangaka, Television director, Novelist, Writer, Playwright
Birthdate: August 8, 1951
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ōta-ku

Mamoru Oshii is a Japanese writer, filmmaker, and television director. Renowned for incorporating philosophical values into his storytelling, Oshii's style of filmmaking has attracted praise from other popular directors like Steven Spielberg and James Cameron. Over the years Mamoru Oshii has received nominations for several prestigious awards like the Golden Lion and Palme d'Or.

 21 Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Kiyoshi Kurosawa
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Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film critic, Journalist, Television director, Actor
Birthdate: July 19, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kōbe

 22 Kenji Mizoguchi

Kenji Mizoguchi
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 16, 1898
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hongo, Tokyo, Japan
Died: August 24, 1956

 23 Shinya Tsukamoto

Shinya Tsukamoto
2
Famous As: Film director, Film producer, Screenwriter, Actor, Film editor
Birthdate: January 1, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tokyo

 24 Ishirō Honda

Ishirō Honda
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 7, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Asahi, Japan
Died: February 28, 1993

 25 Sion Sono

Sion Sono
2
Famous As: actor, poet, novelist, film director, screenwriter
Birthdate: December 20, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Toyokawa

 26 Kinji Fukasaku

Kinji Fukasaku
2
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer
Birthdate: July 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mito
Died: January 12, 2003

 27 Shintaro Katsu

Shintaro Katsu
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 29, 1931
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fukagawa, Tokyo, Japan
Died: June 21, 1997

 28 Yoshiaki Kawajiri

Yoshiaki Kawajiri
2
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Animator
Birthdate: November 18, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Yokohama

 29 Kazuaki Kiriya

Kazuaki Kiriya
2
Famous As: Photographer, Film director, Screenwriter, Film editor
Birthdate: April 20, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Asagiri

 30 Masaki Kobayashi

Masaki Kobayashi
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: February 14, 1916
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Otaru, Hokkaido, Japan
Died: October 4, 1996

 31 Seijun Suzuki

Seijun Suzuki
2
Famous As: Film director, Television director, Actor, Writer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 24, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nihonbashi
Died: February 13, 2017

 32 Takashi Shimizu

Takashi Shimizu
2
Famous As: Film producer, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: July 27, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Maebashi

 33 Juzo Itami

Juzo Itami
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 15, 1933
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kyoto, Japan
Died: December 20, 1997

 34 Ryuhei Kitamura

Ryuhei Kitamura
2
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer
Birthdate: May 30, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Ōsaka

 35 Shinji Higuchi

Shinji Higuchi
1
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Animator
Birthdate: September 22, 1965
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Tokyo

 36 Hideo Nakata

Hideo Nakata
1
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: July 19, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Okayama, Japan

 37 Naomi Kawase

Naomi Kawase
1
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film editor, Film producer, Cinematographer
Birthdate: May 30, 1969
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Nara

 38 Shunji Iwai

Shunji Iwai
1
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film editor, Film producer, Composer, Lyricist
Birthdate: January 24, 1963
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sendai

 39 Mikio Naruse

Mikio Naruse
1
Famous As: Film director, Writer, Film producer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: August 20, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Tokyo
Died: July 2, 1969

 40 Shoji Kawamori

Shoji Kawamori
1
Birthdate: February 20, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nanto

 41 Ichikawa Kon

Ichikawa Kon
1
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: November 20, 1915
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ise, Japan
Died: February 13, 2008

 42 Hiroshi Teshigahara

Hiroshi Teshigahara
1
Famous As: Film director, Sculptor, Potter
Birthdate: January 28, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tokyo
Died: April 14, 2001

 43 Kaneto Shindo

Kaneto Shindo
1
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: April 22, 1912
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Saeki District, Hiroshima, Japan
Died: May 29, 2012

 44 Rintaro

Rintaro
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Famous As: Film producer, Screenwriter, Film director
Birthdate: January 22, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tokyo

 45 Osamu Dezaki

Osamu Dezaki
1
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Impresario
Birthdate: November 18, 1943
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Meguro-ku
Died: April 17, 2011

 46 Nagisa Oshima

Nagisa Oshima
1
Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Film producer, Film editor
Birthdate: March 31, 1932
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tamano
Died: January 15, 2013

 47 Kōji Wakamatsu

Kōji Wakamatsu
1
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer
Birthdate: April 1, 1936
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wakuya
Died: October 17, 2012

 48 Keisuke Kinoshita

Keisuke Kinoshita
1
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: December 5, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan
Died: December 30, 1998

 49 Yōjirō Takita

Yōjirō Takita
1
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: December 4, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Takaoka

 50 Teinosuke Kinugasa

Teinosuke Kinugasa
1
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: January 1, 1896
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kameyama, Japan
Died: February 26, 1982