Entertainment

Famous Film Directors from Japan

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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.
1
Aki Mizusawa is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Aki Mizusawa
age 65
Aki Mizusawa is an actress.
2
Akihiko Shiota is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 58
Akihiko Shiota (塩田 明彦, Shiota Akihiko) (born 11 September 1961, Maizuru, Kyoto) is a Japanese film director and screenwriter.
3
Akihiko Yamashita is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Akihiko Yamashita
age 53
Akihiko Yamashita is a Studio Ghibli animator who is famous for Howl's Moving Castle and Giant Robo.
4
Akihiro Kitamura is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 40
Akihiro Kitamura (北村 昭博, Kitamura Akihiro, born March 26, 1979) is a Japanese actor and director, who appeared in The Human Centipede (First Sequence).
5
Akihito Izuhara is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 55
Akihito Izuhara is a film director and producer.
6
Akio Jissoji is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Dec. at 69 (1937-2006)
7
Akio Watanabe is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 50
Akio Watanabe (渡辺明夫, Watanabe Akio, born July 13, 1969) is a Japanese animator, character designer and animation director currently living in Tokyo, Japan. He often goes by the pseudonym Poyoyon ...more
8
Akio Yoshida is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Akio Yoshida
age 68
Akio Yoshida is a Television director and the husband of Noriko Ogawa.
9
Akira Emoto is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 71
Akira Emoto (柄本 明, Emoto Akira, born 3 November 1948 in Chūō, Tokyo) is a Japanese actor.
10
Akira Inoue is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Akira Inoue
age 91
Akira Inoue is a film director.
11
Akira Kobayashi is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 81
Akira Kobayashi (Japanese: 小林 旭, Hepburn: Kobayashi Akira, born November 3, 1938) is a Japanese actor and singer. His nickname is Maito Gai (マイトガイ, "mighty guy").
12
Ann Hui is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 72
Ann Hui On-wah, MBE, BBS, (traditional Chinese: 許鞍華; simplified Chinese: 许鞍华; pinyin: Xǔ Ānhuá; Hepburn: Kyo Anka; born 23 May 1947) is a Hong Kong film director, producer, screenwriter ...more
13
Akira Kurosawa is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Dec. at 88 (1910-1998)
Akira Kurosawa (Kyūjitai: 黒澤 明, Shinjitai: 黒沢 明 Kurosawa Akira; March 23, 1910 – September 6, 1998) was a Japanese film director and screenwriter, who directed 30 films in a career spanning 57 ...more

More Akira Kurosawa 

#543 of 926 People We Wish Were Still Alive #5 of 783 The Greatest Directors In Movie History

14
Akira Nishimori is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Akira Nishimori
age 58
Akira Nishimori (西森 章, Nishimori Akira) is a Japanese anime director, known for directing series such as Rumic Theater, Gallery Fake, Petopeto-san, Hitohira, Zombie-Loan, and three Battle ...more
15
Akira Ogata is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Akira Ogata
age 60
Akira Ogata (緒方明) is a Japanese film director. He was given the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award for his debut film, Boy's Choir, in 2000, and then won the award for best director at ...more
16
Akira Toriyama is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 64
Akira Toriyama (鳥山 明, Toriyama Akira, born April 5, 1955) is a Japanese manga artist, game artist and character designer. He first achieved mainstream recognition for his highly successful manga ...more
17
Akitaro Daichi is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 63
Akitaro Daichi (大地 丙太郎, Daichi Akitarō, born January 13, 1956) is an anime director, producer, and photography director.
18
Akiyuki Shinbo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 58
Akiyuki Shinbo (Japanese: 新房 昭之, Hepburn: Shinbō Akiyuki, born September 27, 1961) is a Japanese animator, director, producer and storyboard artist who started his career in 1981 at Studio One ...more
19
Alala Kurosawa is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Alala Kurosawa
20
Amica Kubo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Amica Kubo
age 36
Amica Kubo is a film director.
21
Asumi Matsumura is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Asumi Matsumura
Asumi Matsumura is a TV director.
22
Junji Shimizu is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Junji Shimizu
Junji Shimizu is a film director.
23
Atsuko Ishizuka is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 38
Atsuko Ishizuka (いしづか あつこ, Ishizuka Atsuko, born September 3, 1981) is a Japanese animator and director. She began her animation career after joining Madhouse in 2004.
24
Atsuo Okunaka is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
Atsuo Okunaka
Dec. at 82 (1930-2012)
Atsuo Okunaka was a film and television director.
25
Atsuro Watabe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Film Directors from Japan
age 51
Atsuro Watabe is a Japanese actor.