Hideo Kojima’s Top Picks: Must-See Japanese Films in The Criterion Closet

Hideo Kojima, the renowned creator of iconic video games like Metal Gear Solid and Death Stranding, is not only celebrated for his contributions to the gaming world but also for his deep passion for cinema. Recently, he had the privilege of being a guest on the Criterion Closet, a haven for movie enthusiasts at Criterion’s office in New York. In this exclusive space, notable directors and actors are invited to select their favorite films and engage in discussions about them.

Kojima’s visit to the Criterion Closet unveiled a fascinating glimpse into his creative mind and how his love for movies influences his vision for the projects he’s worked on. He curated a list of nine classic Japanese films from the 1950s and 1960s, each chosen for its cinematic significance and storytelling prowess. These selections provide valuable insights into the artistic influences and inspirations behind Kojima’s work in the realm of video games.

Here is a closer look at the Japanese films handpicked by Hideo Kojima during his visit to the Criterion Closet:

  1. High and Low – Directed by Akira Kurosawa
    • Akira Kurosawa’s gripping thriller, “High and Low,” is known for its intense narrative and exploration of social class divisions.
  2. Late Spring – Directed by Yasujiro Ozu
    • Yasujiro Ozu’s “Late Spring” is a heartwarming family drama that delves into the complexities of generational relationships.
  3. Eclipse Series 3: Late Ozu – A collection of films by Yasujiro Ozu
    • This Criterion Collection set features a selection of late Ozu films, offering a comprehensive view of his distinctive storytelling style.
  4. Ugetsu – Directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
    • Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Ugetsu” is a haunting tale of ambition, love, and the supernatural, set against the backdrop of war-torn Japan.
  5. Kwaidan – Directed by Masaki Kobayashi
    • “Kwaidan” is a mesmerizing anthology of ghost stories, showcasing the artistry and supernatural folklore of Japan.
  6. Harakiri – Directed by Masaki Kobayashi
    • Masaki Kobayashi’s “Harakiri” is a profound exploration of honor and samurai code, renowned for its dramatic depth.
  7. Jigoku – Directed by Nobuo Nakagawa
    • “Jigoku” offers a descent into the abyss of hell itself, blending horror and morality in an unforgettable narrative.
  8. Onibaba – Directed by Kaneto Shindo
    • Kaneto Shindo’s “Onibaba” is a visually stunning and emotionally charged tale of survival and temptation.
  9. Woman in the Dunes – Directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara
    • Hiroshi Teshigahara’s “Woman in the Dunes” is a surreal and thought-provoking exploration of isolation and identity.

Kojima’s film recommendations reflect his appreciation for the rich tapestry of Japanese cinema and its profound influence on his storytelling craft. As a creator who seamlessly merges the worlds of gaming and film, his choices offer cinephiles and gamers alike a unique window into the artistic sources that shape his imaginative narratives.

You can watch Kojima discussing these films and his insights into their cinematic brilliance in the video available online. His visit to the Criterion Closet not only enriches our understanding of his creative process but also highlights the enduring impact of classic Japanese cinema on contemporary storytelling.