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.
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.
Yasujiro Ozu often ran away from school to watch movies at a local theater and later began his career as a camera assistant. He directed both silent films and talkies, including the masterpiece Tokyo Story, and is best remembered for his signature static camera effect and the use of the color red.
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.
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.
Japanese filmmaker Takashi Miike is best known for his masterpieces such as the action-horror Ichi the Killer and the samurai film 13 Assassins. Though he initially wished to be a motorbike racer, he later joined a film school. His films are known for his controversial, violent, and sexually provocative themes.
Gorō Miyazaki is a Japanese animator, director, and screenwriter. The son of a prominent animator, he consciously decided not to follow in his father’s footsteps and became a landscape architect. Later on, he did enter the film business with the anime epic fantasy film, Tales from Earthsea, his directorial debut. He also served as the screenwriter on this project.
Masaaki Yuasa is a critically acclaimed Japanese animator, director, and screenwriter. He is the co-founder of Science SARU, a Japanese animation studio. He began his career as an animator before moving into directing. Famous for his idiosyncratic art style, he is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon.
Japanese filmmaker Isao Takahata is best known for his collaborations with Hayao Miyazaki, with whom he co-established Studio Ghibli. Born to an academician father, he had initially studied French literature. He is best remembered for his Oscar-nominated film The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. His signature plot includes a protagonist on a train.
Japanese animator Mamoru Hosoda is best known for his Academy Award-nominated film Mirai. An oil painting major, he began his career with Toei Animation and then joined Madhouse, eventually launching his own studio, Studio Chizu. He is known for his signature themes such as family and his collaborations with Yoshiyuki Sadamoto.
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.
Best known for creating the special effects in the Godzilla series of films, Japanese special-effects director Eiji Tsuburaya had earned the nickname The Father of Tokusatsu. He later formed his own SFX company, which created the Ultra of superhero TV shows. He also nursed a lifelong love for airplanes.
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.
Kiyoshi Kurosawa is a Japanese film director and film critic. He is also a professor at Tokyo University of the Arts. Interested in filmmaking from a young age,he received his training under prominent film critic Shigehiko Hasumi before beginning his career. He has worked in numerous genres and is best known for his many contributions to the Japanese horror genre.
Sion Sono is a Japanese filmmaker, writer, and poet best known for the art-house comedy-drama film Love Exposure. He has been called a "stakhanovist filmmaker" by critics. He began his career as a poet and eventually entered cinema. Sex, cynicism, and cinema are common themes in his works. He is considered an auteur for his distinct style of film-making.
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.
Kenji Mizoguchi was a Japanese film director and screenwriter best known for his romantic fantasy drama film Ugetsu. He earned much acclaim for his style of filmography and stage design. He developed what became his signature "one-scene-one-shot" approach to cinema and is counted amongst the most acclaimed filmmakers in Japanese and world cinema history.
Ishirō Honda was a Japanese filmmaker with an extensive career spanning 59 years. Beginning his career as a third assistant director, he went on to make his directorial debut with the short documentary film Ise-Shima. With 44 films to his credit, he is counted amongst the most internationally successful Japanese filmmakers of the 20th century.
Shinya Tsukamoto is a Japanese film director, producer, editor, screenwriter, production designer, art director, cinematographer, and actor. Best known for his 1989 film Tetsuo: The Iron Man, which is widely regarded as the defining movie of the Cyberpunk movement in Japan, Tsukamoto enjoys a considerable cult following and is cited as an influence on famous Western filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino.
Kinji Fukasaku was a Japanese screenwriter and film director best remembered for directing a series of yakuza films, such as Battles Without Honor and Humanity, during the 1970s. Fukasaku's work has served as an inspiration for several Western filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and William Friedkin. Kinji Fukasaku is also one of the most celebrated filmmakers of his generation.
Shintaro Katsu was a Japanese singer, actor, and filmmaker. He is remembered for playing important roles in popular film series like the Akumyo series and the Zatoichi series. Katsu's personal life, which included arrests in 1978, 1990, and 1992 for possession of drugs, overshadowed his professional achievements. Fujitora, a character from the manga series One Piece, is based on Katsu.
Masaki Kobayashi was a Japanese filmmaker renowned for directing the trilogy The Human Condition. One of the most revered directors of his generation, Kobayashi's works were recognized internationally. In 1963, his film Harakiri was showcased at the Cannes Film Festival where it won the Jury Prize. Kobayashi is also credited with co-founding a directors group called The Four Horsemen Club.
Known as a pioneering filmmaker of the Japanese pink films, Kan Mukai had initially dropped out of an economics course to follow his passion of filmmaking. He helped launched the careers of many performers, such as the Roman Porno star Kazuko Shirakawa. He eventually lost his battle with cancer.
Best known for his iconic movies such as The Naked Island and Children of Hiroshima, Japanese filmmaker Kaneto Shindo initially wanted to be a screenwriter. Part of the Japanese navy during World War II, he later often used themes of war and social realism in his films.
Born to a Japanese father and a Danish mother, David Sakurai moved from Denmark to Japan at 18, to train in acting. After working in small-time films such as Tokyo G.P., he moved back to Denmark, and worked in films such as Liza, The Fox-Fairy and in series such as Iron Fist.