I am studying Ozu and his films, and I often come across the sentence that he is the most "Japanese" filmmaker. Ozu's style is very different and unique, however my question is what are the unique aspects of his films that make him the most "Japanese"?

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    Welcome to the site! Perhaps you could add a few quotes with sources linked? That might be helpful to those interested in learning more about your question and its context.
    – sanpaco
    Oct 18 '18 at 17:20
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    This sounds like a matter of opinion, though I'm interested in what critics have said about his filmmaking that makes it "Japanese". Oct 18 '18 at 17:26
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    @BrettFromLA If it's an opinion held by many people, especially people well-versed in Ozu's works, there has to be some reason for it, though.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Oct 18 '18 at 17:43
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    it is indeed a matter of opinion however there must be some general aspects that made him the most Japanese worldwide
    – Vanta
    Oct 18 '18 at 17:46
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    Likely because he and Naruse brought Shomin-geki (a western term-Japanese: shōshimin-eiga) to prominence, although they didn't start it. This coincided with the rise of a national sentiment towards film by the Japanese. Shomin-geki films tend to be about lower or middle class families (often with women protagonists) being confronted with everyday struggles, although these tend to also challenge social norms for the viewer. There's a good article in Film Quarterly on this: 'Late Ozu, Late Naruse' Joan Mellen, Vol. 61 No. 4, Summer 2008; (pp. 24-32) DOI: 10.1525/fq.2008.61.4.24
    – wcullen
    Oct 19 '18 at 2:28

First of all, the notion that Ozu was "Japanese" came from the Japanese themselves, initially. Recall that he started to gain popularity there in the 1940s, when it was not at all to be assumed that all Japanese movies would travel, and they definitely did not think that his would.

Ozu is famous for shooting with the camera at the eye-height of a person kneeling on a tatami mat. The pacing is slow and contemplative, and his subject is always the Japanese family and the changes that have affected it. Overt displays of emotion are never allowed, and yet the ending of Tokyo Story would wring tears from a stone.

I guess the Japanese felt Westerners couldn't relate to this style, so different from American movies. How wrong they were.

  • Good answer. Perhaps you could expand on why "slow and contemplative" and limiting "overt displays of emotion" are considered specifically "Japanese"?
    – magarnicle
    Sep 30 '21 at 22:57

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