Since its beginnings, Shochiku has always been at the forefront of innovation in Japanese cinema. The Neighbor’s Wife and Mine, Japan’s first “talkie,” and Carmen Comes Home, Japan’s first full-length color feature, are just two of Shochiku’s many masterpieces.
Yasujiro Ozu, one of Japan’s most celebrated filmmakers, once said: “When you portray people, you portray society.” We believe Shochiku’s films do just that: the stories they tell ordinary people’s lives reflect the world and times they live in.
Today, Shochiku’s films are acclaimed abroad as well as in Japan. Yojiro Takita’s Departures made wishes come true when it became the first Japanese film to win the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009. Other overseas hits include the Berlin International Film Festival submission Creepy and the Yoji Yamada film Nagasaki: Memories of My Son, produced to commemorate Shochiku’s 120th anniversary.
Animation fans worldwide won’t want to miss Shochiku’s lineup of animated movies and TV series for foreign audiences. With a booming presence in North America, Europe, China, and other Asian countries, demand is growing not just for Shochiku theatrical and home video releases, but for tie-in products and video games as well.
REMAKES FROM SHOCHIKU FILMS
Recent remakes of Shochiku classics include Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, starring Richard Gere, a 2009 retelling of 1987’s Hachiko Monogatari; and 2010’s The Yellow Handkerchief, starring William Hurt, Eddie Redmayne, and Kristen Stewart, based on Yoji Yamada’s 1977 original.
The acclaimed TV series Hissatsu Shigotonin was remade in South Korea as Strongest Chil Woo, which was itself broadcast in Japan.
Shochiku also has a number of new Hollywood productions in the works.
Shochiku has helped some of Japan’s most celebrated filmmakers bring their creations to the screen, including Kenji Mizoguchi, Keisuke Kinoshita, Masaki Kobayashi, Yoshitaro Nomura, Nagisa Oshima, Yoji Yamada, and Takeshi Kitano.
Every ten years, the British Film Institute’s magazine Sight and Sound conducted a poll of world-famous film directors to choose the best film ever made. Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story was the jury’s pick in the 2012 poll, which included such luminaries as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Quentin Tarantino, and Francis Ford Coppola.
Recently, the world’s three major international film festivals (Cannes, Venice, Berlin) have begun officially selecting digitally restored works as entries, giving classics fans around the world a new reason to celebrate.