World Renowned Filmmakers

Proper Noun Trivia

*This series explains the meanings of proper names, including names of places, companies, people, brands and others.
Name 黒澤 明
Romaji
Hiragana
KUROSAWA Akira
くろさわ あきら
Kanji meaning black / swamp / bright
Kurozawa’s best-known films are his samurai epics “Seven Samurai” and “Yojimbo.” He gained international fame with “Rashomon.” Inspiring directors like Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, Kurosawa is the most renowned and influential Japanese filmmaker.
(1910-1998).

 

Name 小津 安二郎
Romaji
Hiragana
OZU Yasujiro
おづ やすじろう
Kanji meaning little / port / peaceful (cheap) / second (two) / son
Ozu is best known for his 1953 masterpiece “Tokyo Story,” which portrays the changing nature of the Japanese family. Often said to be “typically Japanese,” he explored the rhythms and tensions of a country trying to reconcile modern and traditional values.
(1903-1963)

 

Name 溝口 健二
Romaji
Hiragana
MIZOGUCHI Kenji
みぞぐち けんじ
Kanji meaning ditch / mouth / healthy / second (two)
Mizoguchi used sophisticated camera techniques to create films that mostly dealt with the role of women in Japanese society. His “Osaka Elegy” and “Sisters of the Gion” are regarded as being amongst the best Japanese films. Also renowned is “The Life of Oharu” and the ghost story “Ugetsu.”
(1898-1956)

 

Name 山田 洋次
Romaji
Hiragana
YAMADA Yoji
やまだ ようじ
Kanji meaning mountain / rice field / ocean / next
He is best known for creating “Otoko Wa Tsurai Yo” (It’s Tough Being a Man), the world’s longest running series of films. Others of his wellknown works include “Tasogare Seibei” (Twilight Samurai), and “Bushi no Ichibun.” (Love and Honor) Both are samurai stories.
(1931- )

 

Name 宮崎 駿
Romaji
Hiragana
MIYAZAKI Hayao
みやざき はやお
Kanji meaning palace (Shinto shrine) / cape / a good horse (speed)
Japan’s greatest animation director, whose many films have gained him an international reputation. These include: “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” “Laputa: Castle in the Sky,” “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Princess Mononoke,” “Spirited Away,” and “Ponyo.”
(1941- )

 

Name 北野 武
Romaji
Hiragana
KITANO Takeshi
きたの たけし
Kanji meaning north / field / warrior (arms)
Formerly one of the top figures in the manzai (stand-up comedy duo) scene. His film “Hana-bi” won the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion. Many of his works – including “Violent Cop” and “Brother” – are concerned with the theme of violence. He hosts many TV programs.
(1947- )

[From Hiragana Times article]

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