ome of you may be wondering just what the DGJ is. Simply stated, it is Japan’s only cooperative for film directo
About the Directors Guild of Japan
The past and present chairman
of the board of directors
Ever since its inception in 1936, the Director’s Guild of Japan has promoted for growth in the field of cinema and motion pictures, and worked to raise the social status of directors. Various efforts are being made to establish and protect copyrights of directors to foster creativity and artistic freedom.
Through this website, we would like to raise our awareness to as many people as possible, and open the door to a new era with everyone who is passionate about cinema and motion pictures.
Freedom of Expression
The Directors Guild endeavors to establish and protect freedom of expression, to improve the status of film directors, and to enhance various rights of its members.
Directors and Copyrights
Directors and Copyrights Holders?!
“Copyrights of films belong to film production companies” after the copyright law was reformed in 1971. Therefore, directors currently do not possess copyrights.
However, “moral rights” (right to preserve integrity, right to determine the indication of author’s name, and right to make the work public) are given to creators.
In other words, directors have no “financial rights”, but possess “moral rights” as creators.
The Director’s Guild has called for reform of the copyright law through activism, initially by collective agreements with film production companies to expand and protect rights of directors. In the recent years, we are trying to reform the law to allow directors to be given copyrights, then transfer copyrights to producers in the form of contracts, by advocating to the nonpartisan Art and Culture Promotion Committee of the National Diet.
My name is Katsuhide Motoki, and I was elected as the chairman on June 16, 2022.
The Japan Directors Association was established on March 1, 1936, at the Tokyo Kaikan in Marunouchi, Tokyo, with 23 prominent film directors as founding members. This was just after the February 26 Incident. The “Statement of Founding Principles” states that the association aims to “strive for the improvement and refinement of Japanese film art, contribute to the enhancement of the personal qualities and social status of film professionals, establish the corporate structure of the film industry, promote its industrial development, and thereby contribute to Japanese culture.”
Over the past 87 years, we have overcome various hardships, and this founding principle has been passed down through generations. We have become the only cooperative association for “those who work as film directors” in Japan. As our industry has diversified with the changing times, we now use the term “film director” to refer to creators who are called “directors” in various visual works, including not only theatrical films but also dramas, documentaries, animations, commercials, music videos, and other visual productions that are broadcast on television or distributed on the web. As of July 2022, we have 478 members, many of whom are self-employed, but there are also directors who are contracted with film production companies or production houses. Regardless of their ideology, beliefs, or affiliations, everyone works together in a flat relationship to operate the association.
The freedom of expression for directors and the establishment and protection of copyright and moral rights are the core principles of our movement. While film directors are recognized as authors under the current copyright law, they do not hold copyright according to Article 29 of the Copyright Law. To rectify this contradiction, we have been fighting for over half a century, appealing to the government, film and audiovisual organizations, and international copyright institutions to pursue legal reforms.
“Film directors” are leaders who bring together numerous staff and cast members to create a single expression. They carry a large capital burden and are constantly held accountable for the results. They face a solitary competition where they stake their professional lives on each work, without any guarantee of status. I was once ridiculed by a senior at a film studio who told me, “If you become a director,You will live a life detached from the current world, without possessing money, and resembling that of a hermit, I am working to achieve at least economic fairness, where many talented individuals who come after us can dream and aspire. I believe that this movement will lead to the sustainable development of Japanese film and visual culture.
Currently, the film and visual industry is undergoing significant transformation. It is only natural that we eliminate all forms of violence and harassment from all production sites. We must earnestly examine the various factors that have led to such issues and work concretely towards improvement. Since 2019, we have been actively involved in the formulation of guidelines for the “rationalization of film production sites” initiated by organizations such as the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan and the professional motion picture workers association japan. We will continue to participate to ensure the effectiveness of these efforts. Within our association, we are also engaging in discussions to reform the values and consciousness that have been tolerated thus far.
I will strive to contribute to building a bright future for the industry by promoting cooperation among more directors who will lead the next generation and utilizing their strengths. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your continued support, guidance, and encouragement.
Katsuhide Motoki Chairman,
Japan Directors Association