I have written on a number of occasions of my admiration of Japanese films, particularly those of the 1950s and 1960s, when it seems their film industry could do no wrong. Following is a list of my favorite directors followed by my favorites of their films.
If it seems most of the films deal with samurai, it is because I dearly love the genre.
- Hideo Gosha: Goyokin (1969)
- Kon Ichikawa: The Burmese Harp (1956), Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
- Kazuo Ikehiro: Trail of Traps (1965), Castle Menagerie (1969)
- Hiroshi Inagaki: The Samurai Trilogy (1954-1956)
- Keisuke Kinoshita: The Ballad of Narayama (1958)
- Masaki Kobayashi: The Human Condition Trilogy (1959-1961), Harakiri (1962), and Kwaidan (1964)
- AKIRA KUROSAWA: Just about anything he did, most notably Rashomon (1950), The Seven Samurai (1954), and The Hidden Fortress (1958)
- Kenji Misumi: Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival (1970)
- KENJI MIZOGUCHI: Just about anything he did, especially Ugetsu Monogatari (1953), Sansho the Bailiff (1954), and Tales of the Taira Clan (1955)
- Kihachi Okamato: Samurai Assassin (1965), The Sword of Doom (1966)
- YASUJIRO OZU: Just about anything he did, including Late Spring (1949) and Tokyo Story (1953)
- Kaneto Shindo: Onibaba (1964)
- Hiroshi Teshigahara: The Woman in the Dunes (1964)
The directors whose names are in red (Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu) are by far the greatest, with Kobayashi not far behind.