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Shochiku Company, Limited (松竹株式会社 Shōchiku Kabushiki Gaisha ?) TYO: 9601 is a Japanese movie studio and production company for kabuki. It also produces and distributes anime films. Its best remembered directors include Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Mikio Naruse, Keisuke Kinoshita (Twenty-Four Eyes, 1954), and more recently Yoji Yamada. Shochiku has also produced films by highly regarded independent and 'loner' directors such as Takashi Miike, Takeshi Kitano, Akira Kurosawa and Taiwanese New Wave director Hou Hsiao-Hsien.

The headquarters of Shochiku, in Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo

Formed in 1895 by Takejirō Otani and his brother as a Kabuki production company, Shochiku grew quickly, expanding its business to many other Japanese live theatric styles, like Noh and Bunraku. The company began making films in 1920 and was the first film studio to abandon the use of female impersonators and sought to model itself and its films after Hollywood standards, bringing such things as the star system and the sound stage to Japan. By the early 1930s, Shochiku had begun to specialise in the shomin-geki genre[1] in which Ozu and Naruse worked.

In 1936, Shochiku closed its studio in Kamata, Tokyo and relocated to nearby Ofuna; this studio remaining in operation for 64 years. At the beginning of the 1960s, the studio was involved in the Japanese New Wave (Nuberu bagu) and launched the career of Nagisa Oshima among others,[1] though Oshima soon went independent; the films of Oshima and other film makers were not financially successful and the company changed its policies.[1]

In 2000 the Ofuna site was sold off to Kamakura Women's College as a result of financial difficulties (including the 1998 closure of Kamakura Cinema World, the studio's short-lived theme park), and Shochiku returned to Tokyo.

Shochiku has also served as a distributor of theatrical anime. Major titles have included the Cardcaptor Sakura films, Origin: Spirits of the Past, Piano no Mori, and Sword of the Stranger.

It currently maintains a film studio and backlot in Kyoto, Japan.


  1. ^ a b c Alexander Jacoby A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors, 2008, Berkeley:Stone Bridge Press, p381

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