10 Japanese Movie Directors Who Have Shaped Japan’s Cinema 

Japanese cinema is often lauded as bringing to life some of the most fantastical and bizarre, but also relatable and thought-provoking works. Coming into prominence around the world in the mid-1900s, many Japanese movie directors have made a name for themselves with seemingly controversial and/or extraordinary techniques that deviate vastly from the recognised western storytelling.

The wide range of Japanese movies means that there is always the perfect choice for all situations: whether you’re in for an effortless viewing on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or keen for an over-the-top action/horror thriller that will leave you feeling all kinds of squeamish.

10 Popular Japanese Movie Directors You Should Know

We’ve listed below 10 Japanese movie directors who have shaped Japan’s cinema experience, with some prime examples of their work for you to watch.

  1. Hayao Miyazaki
  2. Takeshi Kitano
  3. Takeshi Miike
  4. Akira Kurosawa
  5. Hideaki Anno
  6. Kon Ichikawa
  7. Hirokazu Kore-eda
  8. Nagashi Oshima
  9. Koji Wakamatsu
  10. Kenji Mizoguchi

Let’s discover each of them in more details below.

1. Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki is synonymous with Japanese cinema. Thanks to his stunning visuals and captivatingly unique storytelling, anime has become one of the most recognised and respectable artforms in the cinematic world.

Hayao has directed many animations in his lifetime but his crown jewel would be ‘Spirited Away’, a 2001 film about a young girl involved in a fantasy dream which broke the previous box-record held by ‘Titanic’ and even won an Oscar.



His studio, from which the likes of Princess Mononoke and Howl’s Moving Castle also come from, is known for its unique strong and meditative protagonists and passive, often misunderstood villains.

2. Takeshi Kitano

Best Japanese Directors - Takeshi Kitano

Also known as one half of the nationally recognised ‘Two Beat Duo’, Takeshi Kitano is a renowned …continue reading