Nowadays, the name of the Japanese film director Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963) is known throughout the world. But it wasn’t always like this — and it might never have been, without the efforts of Donald Richie.

After Ozu’s masterpiece “Tokyo Story” was released in 1953, Japanese production companies didn’t even think to enter it in international film festivals. They just didn’t believe that such a “Japanese” film would ever be appreciated by foreign audiences. Only one person tried to convince them they were making a big mistake: Richie.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.