Yoshitarō Nomura

Yoshitarō Nomura
Native name 野村 芳太郎
Born (1919-04-23)23 April 1919
Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan
Died 8 April 2005(2005-04-08) (aged 85)
Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
Cause of death Pneumonia
Occupation Film director

Yoshitarō Nomura (野村 芳太郎 Nomura Yoshitarō, 23 April 1919 8 April 2005) was a prolific Japanese film director, film producer, and screenwriter. His first accredited film, Pigeon ( Hato), was released in 1953; his last, Kikenna Onna-tachi (危険な女たち Kikenna Onna-tachi), in 1985. He has received several awards during his career, including the Japanese Academy Award for "Best Director" for his 1978 film The Demon.[1]


He was the son of Hotei Nomura, a contract film director at the Shochiku film studio. Nomura entered Keio University to study art in 1936, graduated in 1941, and then promptly joined the Shochiku studios as well. He was first hired as an assistant director but before being assigned any projects he was drafted into the army before being discharged in July 1946. In the fall of the same year, he returned to Shochiku and spent his entire film career working there.

During his years as an assistant director, he worked under the helm of such legendary film directors as Keisuke Sasaki, Yuzo Kawashima, and Akira Kurosawa, whom he worked with in 1951 on the filming of The Idiot, based on the novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. In 1952, Nomura was promoted to director and made his directorial debut in 1953 with the film Pigeon ( Hato), which was such a success that the studio gave him five more films to direct the following year.

He is considered as one of the pioneers of Japanese film noir and frequently collaborated with mystery writer Seichō Matsumoto, with whom he made eight films. Nomura directed 89 films in total. He worked in several different genres, including musicals and jidaigeki (period dramas), but was considered most proficient within the thriller genre. Nomura's films frequently contain veiled criticism on Japanese society. His 1974 thriller Castle of Sand, for which he won a diploma at the 9th Moscow International Film Festival in 1975,[2] is considered by many critics as his best work. Nomura retired from directing in 1985, after which he worked as a TV producer and as consultant to other Japanese directors. In 1995, he was decorated by the Japanese Government with the Order of the Rising Sun, the second highest order of Japan.

He died of pneumonia on 8 April 2005 in Shinjuku, Tokyo.


In 2014, the National Media Museum in the UK organised a programme of five Nomura films, all of which were adaptations of Seichō Matsumoto stories.[3]

Filmography as assistant director

Filmography as Director






  1. 第 2 回日本アカデミー賞優秀作品 (in Japanese). Japan Academy Prize. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
  2. "9th Moscow International Film Festival (1975)". MIFF. Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  3. Vincent, Tom (23 May 2014). "Discovering Yoshitaro Nomura through the Bradford International Film Festival". National Media Museum blog. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
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