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Several veterans of Japan’s old studio system are still working, but Yoji Yamada is the only one still directing for the studio he started out with, back in 1954. He has directed 81 films for Shochiku; his extraordinary box-office success with the “Tora-san” series, 48 films from 1969 to 1995 about the romantic misadventures of the titular wandering peddler, not only kept Yamada employed, but Shochiku afloat.

Yamada has also won his share of kudos abroad, especially with 2002’s “Tasogare Seibei (The Twilight Samurai)” and other films in his humanistic “samurai trilogy,” but compared to studio senior Yasujiro Ozu he is still lightly regarded by many foreign critics and scholars. Too much “Tora-san,” for one thing.

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