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Famous Film Directors from Japan

Updated October 13, 2018 17.8k views727 items

List of famous film directors from Japan, listed alphabetically with photos when available. Japan has given birth to some great movie directors over the years, many of who have gone on to direct popular comedies, dramas, horror movies and more. These are some of the best Japanese directors in the history of the world, so if you're a native of Japan and an aspiring director then these are people you should look up to.

Items include everything from Tomoharu Katsumata to Morio Asaka.

This list answers the questions, "Who are the best Japanese directors?" and "Which directors are from Japan?"

You can click on the names of these legendary directors of Japan in order to get more information about each one. If you're a film buff use this list of talented Japanese directors to find some new movies you haven't already seen.
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  • Aki Mizusawa

    Age: 65

    BirthplaceJapan, Meguro

    NationalityJapan

    Aki Mizusawa is an actress.
  • Akihiko Shiota

    BirthplaceEast Asia, Kansai region, Honshu, Maizuru, Asia

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedHarmful Insect, Yomigaeri, Moonlight Whispers, Kanaria, Don't Look Back

    Akihiko Shiota (塩田 明彦, Shiota Akihiko) (born 11 September 1961, Maizuru, Kyoto) is a Japanese... more on Wikipedia
  • Akihiko Yamashita

    Age: 53

    BirthplaceOkayama Prefecture, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedA Sumo Wrestler's Tail

    Akihiko Yamashita is a Studio Ghibli animator who is famous for Howl's Moving Castle and Giant... more on Wikipedia
  • Akihiro Kitamura

    BirthplaceJapan, Kochi

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedI'll Be There with You

    Akihiro Kitamura (北村 昭博, Kitamura Akihiro, born March 26, 1979) is a Japanese actor and... more on Wikipedia
  • BirthplaceGifu Prefecture, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedLI.LI.TA.AL.

    Akihito Izuhara is a film director and producer.
  • Akio Jissoji

    Dec. at 69 (1937-2006)

    BirthplaceYotsuya, Tokyo

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedUltraman, Mujo, Marquis De Sade's Prosperities of Vice, Rampo Noir, Ultra Q The Movie: Legend of the Stars

  • NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedHoshizora Kiseki, Netrun-mon

    Akio Watanabe (渡辺明夫, Watanabe Akio, born July 13, 1969) is a Japanese animator, character... more on Wikipedia
  • Akio Yoshida

    Age: 68

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedTales of Terror: Haunted Apartment

    Akio Yoshida is a Television director and the husband of Noriko Ogawa.
  • BirthplaceJapan, Chūō

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedSora ga konnani aoi wake ga nai

    Akira Emoto (柄本 明, Emoto Akira, born 3 November 1948 in Chūō, Tokyo) is a Japanese actor.
  • Akira Inoue

    Age: 91

    BirthplaceEast Asia, Kansai region, Honshu, Asia, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedKozure Ôkami: Sono chîsaki te ni

    Akira Inoue is a film director.
  • BirthplaceJapan, Setagaya

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedMarronnier

    Akira Kobayashi (Japanese: 小林 旭, Hepburn: Kobayashi Akira, born November 3, 1938) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • Ann Hui

    Ann Hui

    Age: 73

    BirthplaceChina, Eurasia, Anshan, Liaoning

    NationalityChina

    Films DirectedSummer Snow, All About Love, Below the Lion Rock: The Bridge, July Rhapsody, Ordinary Heroes

    Ann Hui On-wah, MBE, BBS, (traditional Chinese: 許鞍華; simplified Chinese: 许鞍华; pinyin: Xǔ... more on Wikipedia
  • Akira Kurosawa

    Akira Kurosawa

    Dec. at 88 (1910-1998)

    BirthplaceShinagawa, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedHigh and Low, Gendai no Noh, Dreams, Rashomon, Hakuchi

    Akira Kurosawa (Kyūjitai: 黒澤 明, Shinjitai: 黒沢 明 Kurosawa Akira; March 23, 1910 – September 6,... more on Wikipedia

    More Akira Kurosawa 

    #703 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time#12 of 742 The Greatest Directors In Movie History

  • Akira Nishimori

    Age: 58

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedA.D. Police File 2: The Ripper, A.D. Police File 3: The Man Who Bites His Tongue

    Akira Nishimori (西森 章, Nishimori Akira) is a Japanese anime director, known for directing... more on Wikipedia
  • Akira Ogata

    Age: 60

    BirthplaceSaga Prefecture, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedBoy's Choir, Itsuka dokusho suruhi, Nonchan Noriben

    Akira Ogata (緒方明) is a Japanese film director. He was given the Directors Guild of Japan New... more on Wikipedia
  • Akira Toriyama

    BirthplaceNagoya, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedA Lonesome, Final Battle: The Father of Z-Warrior Son Gokū, who Challenged Freeza

    Akira Toriyama (鳥山 明, Toriyama Akira, born April 5, 1955) is a Japanese manga artist, game... more on Wikipedia
  • BirthplaceGunma, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedElf Princess Rane, Grrl Power, Animation Runner Kuromi

    Akitaro Daichi (大地 丙太郎, Daichi Akitarō, born January 13, 1956) is an anime director, producer,... more on Wikipedia
  • Akiyuki Shinbo

    BirthplaceKori, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedDebutante Detective Corps, Twilight of the Dark Master, Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part II: The Eternal Story, Triangle Heart ~Sweet Songs Forever~ (Part 3), Triangle Heart ~Sweet Songs Forever~ (Part 1)

    Akiyuki Shinbo (Japanese: 新房 昭之, Hepburn: Shinbō Akiyuki, born September 27, 1961) is a... more on Wikipedia
  • Alala Kurosawa

  • Amica Kubo

    Age: 36

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedWorld Wildlife Fund '100% Renewable Energy

    Amica Kubo is a film director.
  • Asumi Matsumura

    Asumi Matsumura is a TV director.
  • Atsuji Shimizu

    Junji Shimizu is a film director.
  • Atsuko Ishizuka

    BirthplaceOkazaki, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedTsuki no Waltz

    Atsuko Ishizuka (いしづか あつこ, Ishizuka Atsuko, born September 3, 1981) is a Japanese animator and... more on Wikipedia

    More Atsuko Ishizuka 

    #15 of 15 15 Anime Creators Reveal Their Favorite Characters#14 of 15 The 15 Greatest Anime Directors Of All Time

  • Atsuo Okunaka

    Dec. at 82 (1930-2012)

    BirthplaceEast Asia, Kansai region, Honshu, Nara, Nara Prefecture

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedSaru No Gundan

    Atsuo Okunaka was a film and television director.
  • BirthplaceShinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

    NationalityJapan

    Films DirectedEcho of Silence

    Atsuro Watabe is a Japanese actor.