Shomin-geki (庶民劇), literally common people drama, is a pseudo-Japanese word invented by Western film scholars.[1] It describes a genre of Japanese realist films which focus on the everyday lives of ordinary people. In Japanese the correct word for this genre is shōshimin-eiga (小市民 映画, literally petit-bourgeois film or lower middle class film).[1]

Film historians Joseph L. Anderson and Donald Richie define the shomin-geki as "[e]ssentially a film about proletarian or lower-middle-class life, about the sometimes humorous, sometimes bitter relations within the family, about the struggle for existence, […] the kind of film many Japanese think of as being about 'you and me.'"[2]

The beginnings of the shomin-geki are assigned to the Shochiku film studio and its director Yasujirō Shimazu.[2][3] Yasujirō Ozu (1903–1963), a former assistant of Shimazu, and Mikio Naruse (1905–1969) are two prominent directors considered to work primarily in the field of the shomin-geki. Others include Heinosuke Gosho, Keisuke Kinoshita, and occasionally Kenji Mizoguchi.



  1. ^ a b "shosimineiga". Hitachi Solutions.
  2. ^ a b Anderson, Joseph L.; Richie, Donald (1959). The Japanese Film – Art & Industry. Rutland, Vermont and Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company.
  3. ^ Jacoby, Alexander (2008). Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors: From the Silent Era to the Present Day. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press. ISBN 978-1-933330-53-2.
  4. ^ a b Kenkyusha's New Japanese-English Dictionary, Kenkyusha Limited, Tokyo 1991, ISBN 4-7674-2015-6
  5. ^ a b "Cambridge Dictionary Japanese–English". Retrieved 17 December 2020.