Article: Ten Distinguished Japanese Women Directors

1. Naomi Kawase

Naomi Kawase is an internally acclaimed Japanese director, born on May 30, 1969. Through her films, Naomi successfully expresses the pure, raw human relationships. She became the youngest recipient of Camera d’Or at Cannes Film Festival with her debut feature, Suzaku (1997). Her employ’s themes are connected to her reflections on contemporary issues through her films and documentaries. Her notable works include Suzaku, True Mothers, and The Mourning Forest.


2. Kinuyo Tanaka

One of Japan’s most distinguished female directors is Kinuyo Tanaka. Entering the industry as an actress, Kinuyo ventured into directing to become one of the most eminent stars in the history of Japanese cinema. Having a career spanning 50 years, Kinuyo has directed six films, an excellent achievement for a Japanese woman. Her stories depicted new topics like maternity and female emancipation.


3. Tazuko Sakane

Japan’s first female director, Tazuko Sakane, has played a significant part in pioneering female directors and inspiring many. Her first feature film ‘Hatsu Sugata’ became a milestone in the Japanese film industry. Her movies were mainly women-centric and cited the importance of female education and emancipation.


4. Yuki Tanada

Japan’s famous director Yuki Tanada was born on 12 August; 1975 in Fukuoka Prefecture. Her films usually picture the complexities of modern life in Japan that give a sense of familiarity to the viewers. Her movie ‘Moru’ won the grand prize at the Pia Film Festival in 2001. Some of her notable works are One Million Yen Girl (2008) and The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky (2012).


5. Naoko Ogigami

Naoko Ogigami is Japan’s well-known female director. Best known for her sensitive, emotional healing drama, Naoko has made a place in the audience’s hearts with feel-good movies. Her notable works are ‘Kamone Shokudo’ and ‘Megane’ and for the latter won the Manfred Salzberg Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2008.


6. Miwa Nishikawa

Miwa Nishikawa is one of Japan’s notable directors, who gained recognition with her directorial debut ‘Wild Berries’. She has graduated from the University of Waseda and has worked with many veteran directors. Through her films, Miwa interprets the ambiguity and vulnerability of humans through conventional imagery, representations, and style. Her notable works include Wild Berries (2003), Sway (2006), and Dear Doctor (2009).


7. Nami Iguchi

Nami Iguchi is a Japanese film director, screenwriter born on December 4, 1967. She marked her name in the industry with her film Inuneko which several international awards like Best Screen Play Award and Jury Special Award at the Torino International Film Festival. Japanese director Yatabe once said about Iguchi, her unique style and the topics she explores through her films makes Iguchi one of the most exciting directors, not just as a female, of her generation.


8. Momoko Ando

Japan’s upcoming new director Momoko Ando was born in 1982. Momoko received international recognition from her very first film, Kakera: A Piece of Our Life, which depicts the burgeoning lesbian love affair of two young women. Her films draw attention to pointed commentaries on Japanese society with off-beat characters and wholly off-center situations.


9. Yang Yong-Hi

Yang Yong-hi is a leading minority director in Japan. She belongs to the ethnic Korean minority in Japan, also called Zainichi. She gained fame with her documentary ‘Dear Pyongyang,’ which received NETPAC Award at Berlin Film Festival 2006. Through her movies, Yang narrates the obstinacy of the national border that divided her family and is very sentimental.


10. Yoko Yamanaka

Yoko Yamanaka is an emerging director in the Japanese movie arena. This talented woman directed her first film at the age of 19. Her debut film 'Amiko' tells the story of a girl who runs off to Tokyo to meet her crush. Yamanaka cleverly portrayed the highs and pitfalls of an acerbic teenager.