The List

A list of prominent directors from East Asia. Basically trying to keep track of whose films I tend to like most often or most strongly.

The +1 list – A side

I’ve watched at least two films from these directors and they’ve made at least one film that I really enjoy.

Mainland China
Zhang YiMou
Chen KaiGe
Feng XiaoGang
Wang XiaoShuai
Jia ZhangKe

Hong Kong
Wong Kar-wai
Johnnie To
Pang Ho-cheung
John Woo
Alan Mak
Stephen Chow
Ann Hui

Taiwan
Ang Lee

Japan
Kore-eda Hirokazu
Nakamura Yoshihiro
Iwai Shunji
Yamada Yoji
Kurosawa Kiyoshi
Miki Satoshi
Sato Shinsuke
Suzuki Seijun
Takahata Isao
Miyazaki Hayao
Sato Yuichi

South Korea
Park Chan-wook
Bong Joon-ho
Kim Jee-woon
Lee Joon-ik
Kwak Jae-yong
Kang Hyeong-cheol
Jang Hoon

The +1 list – B side

List of directors that I don’t really like but I’ve seen multiple films by them because they seem interesting and other people seem to appreciate their works a lot.

Taiwan
Hou Hsiao-hsien

Hong Kong
Tsui Hark

Japan
Miike Takashi
Sion Sono

South Korea
Kim Ki Duk
Lee Chang-dong

The 1 & done list

I’ve only seen one film by these directors but it was a film I liked a lot.

Mainland China
Li Yang
Diao YiNan

Hong Kong
Philip Yung
Fruit Chan

Japan
Motoki Katsuhide
Uchida Kenji
Kudo Kankuro
Kawase Naomi
Kurosawa Akira
Ozu Yasujiro
Kawamura Taisuke

South Korea
Lee Won-suk
Kim Young-tak
Jeon Soo-il

And here I list a few actors that I really like and will almost watch any film that they are cast in.

Mainland China
Gong Li
Tang Wei
Liao Fan
Zhao Wei

Hong Kong
Tony Leung Chiu-wai
Maggie Cheung
Leslie Cheung
Chow Yun-fat

Taiwan
Guei Lun-mei
Shu Qi
Chang Chen

Japan
Abe Hiroshi
Ayano Go
Odagiri Jo
Yu Aoi
Yakusho Koji
Nikaido Fumi

South Korea
Ha Jung-woo
Son Ye-jin
Lee Byung-hun
Choi Min-sik

Notes about romanized names

Director and actor names on posts are copy-pasted from festival websites and other websites. Unfortunately, there are different spellings for many names often related to how old the actor is. For movies I watched at festivals, I take the cast name off the festival website. For other movies, I usually take it off either AsianWiki or Wikipedia, which use different spellings sometimes. On this list, I use whatever is on Wikipedia.

In general all Mandarin names of mainland China actors that you see on this blog follow Hanyu pinyin spelling but without tone diacritics.

Taiwan names are a bit tricky as they use a different romanization than mainland China and there are different systems. In the rare case an actor has multiple variations, I use what’s on Wikipedia (a prime example being Gwei Lun-mei).

Hong Kong Cantonese names don’t all seem to follow the same romanization system (since Cantonese itself has several competing systems without a clearly dominant one). But I have never seen an actor professionally credited with more than one variation of a Cantonese name so there’s generally no confusion. If an actor has a professional English name, I use it over the Cantonese one or a combo of both in cases where different actors have the same English name (Tony Leung Chiu-wai, being a prime example to differentiate him from Tony Leung Ka-fai).

In this list, I put the family name first in Japanese names, which is not the case in most of the posts on this website where the family name is last. Japanese words and names can have long vowels and on this list I ignore long vowels. In reviews on this website there is unfortunately a mix of different spellings used depending on the festival where I watched the movie. Often it’s ignored in the spelling (like in names such as Ryuhei, Ryohei, Kyoko and Ryoko, which would be Ryūhei, Ryōhei, Kyōko and Ryōko). But when it’s not, sometimes a “u” or “h” is added to the vowel “o” to make “ou” or “oh” or there is a doubling of the letter “uu” or “ii”. In Japanese romanization systems the correct way to represent long vowels is to add a diacritic to the vowel because for example a long “o” is different from “ou” in Japanese, where the former would be one character and the latter would be two characters. For long vowels, Wikipedia adds the macron (horizontal bar or line over the letter) like ō and ū based on modified Hepburn. IMDB uses the circumflex (which looks like a little hat or inverted v above the letter) like ô and û based on a system created by the Japanese government. Oddly, I’ve never seen a diacritic over i but I’ve seen “ii” often enough. Some older celebrities use non-standard romanization, I’ve seen Qusumi instead of Kusumi. But then there’s the popular young actor who has adopted a more English looking spelling of his Japanese name, Mackenyu instead of Makken’yū.

Korean names mostly follow the most recent revised Korean romanization established by the South Korean government but older actors use an older romanization system.