Japanese Cinema

Japanese Cinema

A Personal Journey

Peter Cowie


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  • Peter Cowie is a bona fide expert on international film and has published 30+ books on the subject
  • His account of Japanese film includes personal encounters with the directors themselves and others icons such as Donald Richie.
  • A comprehensive guide to Japanese film: from prewar films to 21st-century Japanese animation.
  • Has the breadth of an introduction for the uninitiated along with perceptive analysis to impress film buffs.
  • Includes individual chapters dedicated to revered directors Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, and Hayao Miyazaki, among others.
  • Peter Cowie is a frequent collaborator with the Criterion Collection where one can view many of the films mentioned in the book.
  • Japan is considered to have one of the world's premier national cinemas: for reference, the Criterion Collection hosts 221 Japanese films, surpassed only by the United States and France in quantity.
  • The British Film Institute ranks Ozu's Tokyo Story and Late Spring as the 3rd and 15th greatest film of all time respectively. Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and Rashomon rank 17th and 26th respectively. Distinguished film critic Roger Ebert has sited Ozu's Floating Weeds and Kurosawa's Ikiru on his 10 greatest films of all time. All 6 of which feature in this book.
  • Japanese film auteurs such as Ozu and Kurosawa receive individual chapters dedicated to their oeuvre, so too does the international face of Japanese animation, Hayao Miyazaki.
  • According to UNESCO, Japan has consistently ranked as the 4th largest film-producing country, in terms of number of films produced, and 3rd, in terms of gross box office, coming in at 2.4 billion.


Peter Cowie:

PETER COWIE has spent his life in writing about cinema, and in particular about the prodigious talents that emerged during the 1950s and 1960s such as Ingmar Bergman and Akira Kurosawa. His more than thirty books include studies of the work of John Ford, Francis Ford Coppola, and the iconic actress Louise Brooks. He was international publisher of the trade paper, Variety, for more than twelve years, and he is also known for his numerous commentaries and video essays for the Criterion Collection in New York. Cowie has traveled throughout Japan on several occasions, and is an avid fan of its history, its literature, and its cinema.