Nikkatsu's history dates back as early as 1912 when 4 companies merged to form Nippon Katsudo Shashin Corporation, the first film conglomerate in the region to produce, distribute and exhibit theatrical films. In 1952 Chofu Studio was built in Tokyo as the largest modern film studio in the Asia Pacific Region at the time; the studio even had a permanent set of Ginza city. It quickly became the cornerstone of the company's Golden Era, together with its string of attractive stars who were then all exclusive to Nikkatsu; the legendary superstar Yujiro Ishihara, handsome young actors under the "Nikkatsu New Face" banner including Akira Kobayashi and Joe Shishido; actresses such as Sayuri Yoshinaga and Ruriko Asaoka; and directors Seijun Suzuki and Shohei Imamura. Nikkatsu flourished as the leading studio in Japan, enjoying box office mega-hits with its action films starring Ishihara ("Crazed Fruit"), teenage love stories starring Yoshinaga ("Cupola, Where the Furnaces Grow"), and "Branded to Kill" starring Joe Shishido, works with a continuing international appeal to this day - the films were so successful that Ishihara and Yoshinaga are still regarded as icons of the Showa period.
When cinema attendance began to drop, Japanese studios slashed their annual film production. Nikkatsu, however, took a unique turn in 1971 when it launched the "Nikkatsu Roman Porn" brand, namely films for the adult audience. As one director recalls, "I had total creative freedom, as long as I kept some nudity in the film", the brand enabled Nikkatsu to be the only major studio in Japan at the time to continue producing films and hire young film makers. Thus, Nikkatsu soon became the hub for upcoming innovative talents, and many of the directors who were given this rare opportunity, later became dominant film makers in Japan; amongst them are Oscar winner Youjiro Takita ("Departure"), multi-time Japanese Academy winners Masayuki Suo ("Shall We Dance?"), Yoshimitsu Morita, Youichi Sai, Shinji Soumai, and many more. The brand continued until 1988 and many films from that time joined our proud classics library.
In 2005, Naoki Sato was appointed President of the company. Originally a producer himself, Nikkatsu's recent array of titles under his leadership includes cutting-edge genre films by Sion Sono and Takashi Miike, and dramatical masterpieces. They have been highly acclaimed, including numerous Japanese Academy winners and nominees such as "Rebirth", "Cold Fish" and "The Devil's Path".
Today, Nikkatsu's diverse business activities include operation of the production studio, overseas film acquisition, distribution, a cable TV channel (Channel NECO) and a Film Course at Josai International University. It is also a member of the Yomiuri-Nippon TV group, the leading media conglomerate in Japan.
In today's fast evolving market, Nikkatsu has a focus on international activities - in 2014, the company established Kantana Japan, a JV with a Thai production group - and seeks to work more closely with partners outside the industry and around the globe.
Through the company's outstanding history with a library of over 5000 films, Nikkatsu has unrivaled experience in film production, offering a diverse slate with a mix of genres, talent and budget - ranging from action, human drama, horror, family entertainment and art house masterpieces. The films have earned universal acclaim, receiving countless number of awards from major international film festivals and the Japanese Academy.
Nikkatsu's latest production strategy includes a special focus on international co-productions. It has co-produced films with Asian partners in Indonesia and Korea, as well as co-developing remakes from the company's library with mainstream Hollywood producers.
The company also welcomes production service work from clients around the globe. Having both a strong local production network and its own in-house production facilities, Nikkatsu is able to cherry pick and offer the best production solution for any budget size, high or low.
STUDIO FACILITY - CHOFU STUDIO -
Nikkatsu has a 400 ㎡5 stage studio in Tokyo with full lighting equipment and set construction service. The studio also has a post-production wing with 1 folly recording studio, 6 digital editing suites and a 35mm/DCP compatible screening room with a 4K projector.
Django Films is a production service company wholly owned by Nikkatsu. With its office located within the Chofu Studio, Django Films is capable of providing the best creative results for a wide range of productions, from low-budget web dramas to high-end blockbuster feature films, TV drama, TV commercials and music videos.
In 2014, Nikkatsu and Nippon TV established a joint venture with a leading Thai production company, the Kantana group. Kantana Japan offers computer graphics, animation, film, drama, and TV commercials by utilizing Kantana's high quality production service.
Nikkatsu has its own distribution division, capable of theatrical, video, TV and internet distribution. The synergy allows Nikkatsu films to be promoted and distributed most efficiently with a clear promotional strategy from early stages of production, resulting in box office successes.
Nikkatsu acquires international films for distribution in Japan. Following the great success of "3 Idiots" from India, the company launched the GOLDEN ASIA label specializing in the distribution of Asian titles.
Nikkatsu operates a cable satellite channel specializing in Japanese films with over 8.1 million subscribers in Japan.
The company's international sales team promotes sales of Nikkatsu films and other third party Japanese films with a presence in all major international markets.
Nikkatsu is in partnership with Josai Kokusai University and administers their post-production facilities.