Identified by his aptitude for blending Japanese folklore and urban legends with modern interpretations, Takashi Shimizu is a masterclass in Japanese Horror film. Shimizu specializes in bringing the horror of these stories to the forefront of his audience's attention, and even into their minds, long after their viewing. Known primarily for his creation of the Ju-On franchise, Takashi Shimizu has a wide breadth of feature films and directorial credits to his name.

With thirty-one film credits to date, Takashi Shimizu has not only cemented himself as one of the most prominent horror directors to come out of Japan in recent history but has also shown the amazing capability to create franchises with staying power.

Notable Works: The Ju-On Saga

The Ju-On franchise has a total of fourteen entries to date, spanning from their original Japanese entries to the mid-2000 entries in the West.

The Ju-On saga begins in 1998 when Katasumi,4444444444 is released on V-Cinema, a format of releasing movies in a direct-to-consumer way. V-Cinema essentially skipped theaters and went straight to DVD or VHS. This allowed for more relaxed censorship, which in turn helped expand the boundaries of what horror could do in Japan. V-Cinema is also known as OVM or “Original Video Movie” a cousin to the OVA’s that were often released in a similar fashion.

As Takashi Shimizu’s first credited film, Katasumi,4444444444 spawned the series that soon became known as Ju-On.

Following the release of Katasumi/4444444444, Shimizu released Ju-On: The Curse (2000) and Ju-On: The Curse 2 (2000), both on V-Cinema.

It wasn’t until 2002 that the Ju-On series would receive a theatrical release, with the premiere of Ju-On: The Grudge. Shortly thereafter Ju-On: The Grudge 2 (2003) was released.

Following the release of Ju-On: The Grudge 2, the series received a western adaption in the form of the Grudge Trilogy. Beginning with the release of The Grudge 1 (2004), the series received two more films in the form of 2006’s The Grudge 2, and finally 2009’s The Grudge 3.

2009 not only marked the release of the third installment of the western adaption but also the 10th anniversary of the franchise in its entirety.

To commemorate this occasion, the series was reimagined and celebrated in the form of Ju-On: Black Ghost/Ju-On: White Ghost, the third Japanese theatrical release in the franchise.

Krasue croaks: "To commemorate the 10-year milestone for the franchise, there was also a video game developed for the Nintendo Wii, titled Ju-On: The Grudge Haunted House Experience."

The series would fade from the public eye for several years until the franchise received a reboot, which would debut in 2014, with the release of Ju-On: The Beginning of The End.

It was succeeded the following year with the release of Ju-On The Final Curse (2015)

Krasue croaks: "In feedback and criticism following the debut of the Ju-On The Grudge movie in 2002, comparisons were drawn between its story, and the narrative of fellow horror film The Ring (1998). 

In 2015 the concept of a crossover movie between the Ju-On and Ring franchises was teased as an April fools joke, only to later be confirmed as a real project, released in the form of 2016's Sadako Vs. Kayako"

Following the first entry in the Ju-on franchise in 2000 with Ju-on: The Curse, Takashi went on to direct six installments in the series. In chronological order, these include the titles: Ju-on: The Curse (2000), Ju-on: The Curse 2 (2000), Ju-on: The Grudge (2002), Ju-on: The Grudge 2 (2003).

His works range from his own original franchises, such as the Ju-on series, to directing live-action renditions of other prominent Japanese stories, such as Junji Ito’s Tomie (2001), Resident Evil: Vendetta (2017) and Eiko Kadono’s Kiki’s Delivery Service (2014) which was popularized by Hayao Miyazaki’s 1989 animated feature film.

Brief History

Takashi Shimizu has been in the film industry since 1994, with writing credits on the film, Blue Tiger. However, he directed his debut original project Katasumi,4444444444 in 1998, an idea he created while enrolled in film school. While enrolled, he was instructed by legendary director, Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Cure 1997, Pulse 2001, Séance 2000), who encouraged Shimizu throughout the project, and recommended him for an opportunity that would air the short films.

This instruction and opportunity led to the creation of the Ju-On franchise, with Katasumi (1998) serving as the debut of Kayako Saeki, a character who would become the backbone of future installments.

Throughout his extensive career, Shimizu has noted directors Steven Spielberg (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial 1982, Twilight Zone: The Movie 1983, Gremlins 1984 ) and Ronny Yu (Freddy vs. Jason 2003, Bride of Chucky 1998, The Occupant 1984) as inspirations whose work he looks to both for inspiration and enjoyment.

Filmography (Descending chronological order):

Ox-Head Village (2022)

The Graveyard Apartment (2021)

Homunculus (2021)

Suicide Forest Village (2021)

Howling Village (2019)

Toei Presents HKT48 × 48 nin no eigakantoku tachi (2017)

Innocent Curse (2017)

The Blue Hearts (2017)

A Rain Woman (Short) (2016)

Yo ni mo Kimyô na Monogatari: Eiga kantoku-hen (TV Movie) (2015)

NightCry (Short) (2015)

Flight 7500 (2014)

Kiki's Delivery Service (2014)

Tormented (2011)

Ooedo ribingu deddo (2010)

Soil (TV Series) (2010)

The Ancient Dogoo Girl (TV Series) (2009) (1 episode)

  • Yôkai: Kani kôsen (2009)
  • The Shock Labyrinth 3D (2009)
  • Hijoshi zukan (2009)

Ghost vs. Alien 03 (story "Rokku hantâ Iemon") (2007)

Kaiki Daisakusen - Second File * (TV Mini-Series) (2007)

Ten Nights of Dreams (2006) The Grudge 2 (2006)

Reincarnation (2005)

The Great Horror Family (TV Series) (2 episodes) (2004)

  • A Bizarre! ...and Great Family (2004)
  • Bizarre! ...the Original Great Family (2004)
  • The Grudge (2004)

Dark Tales of Japan (TV Movie) (2004)

Marebito (2004)

Yurei vs Uchujin 2 (2003)

Ju-On: The Grudge 2 (2003)

Kaidan Shin Mimibukuro (TV Series short) (3 episodes) (2003)

  • Dai nanajû ni wa: Machi jikan (Waiting Time) (2003)
  • Dai nijû nana wa: Satori (Enlightenment) (2003)
  • Dai nana wa: Erebêtâ (Elevator) (2003)
  • Yurei vs Uchujin 1 (2002)

Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)

Tomie: Re-birth (2001)

Shin rei bideo V: Honto ni atta kowai hanashi - kyôfushin rei shashin-kan (2000)

Shin rei bideo VI: Honto ni atta kowai hanashi - kyôfu tarento taikendan (2000)

Ju-on: The Curse 2 (2000)

Ju-on: The Curse  (2000)

Katasumi/4444444444 (1998)


Active from 1998 to the present day, Takashi Shimizu made huge contributions to the Japanese horror genre through his utilization of V-Cinema’s relaxed censorship, which brought about one of the most iconic Japanese Horror franchises to date, in the form of Ju-On, which has garnered millions of dollars in box offices both in Japan, and overseas. He lists fellow directors Steven Spielberg, and Ronny Yu, as notable influences. From original stories in the Ju-On franchise to live-action adaptions of other iconic Japanese stories, Shimizu has left his mark on Japanese cinema and is heralded as a contributing factor to the increased popularity of the Horror genre in the country.