Skip to main content

Noriaki Tsuchimoto papers

Call Number: MS 2115

Content Description

The collection comprises the papers of Noriaki Tsuchimoto, a Japanese documentary film director, who directed films on various topics, including environmental issues, nuclear power, corporate history, and Afghanistan. The collection includes manuscripts and documents about his films, including annotated scripts, production notes, shot, and budget sheets; research materials of various topics, including documents on the science of mercury poisoning; location and on-the-set photos; publicity materials; and film stills. It also contains Tsuchimoto’s correspondence with colleagues, as well as decades worth of his datebooks. The topics in his papers vary and include items ranging from labor union newsletters to court documents on cases involving colleagues.


  • 1927 - 2017


Language of Materials

The materials are in Japanese.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. Materials containing Minimata patient information are restricted until January 1, 2046.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creator(s) of this collection for materials they have authored or otherwise produced. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred from the Librarian for Japanese Studies, 2020.


The papers are arranged in four series: I. Correspondence, 1952-2017. II. Biographical, 1940-2012. III. Film Projects, 1927-2013. IV. Collected Ephemera, 1938-2015.

Related Materials

Over 600 titles on various topics pertaining to Tsuchimoto’s research interests were donated to the Yale University Library general collection; these items are cataloged with the note "From the library of Noriaki Tsuchimoto."


43.67 Linear Feet (83 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

Biographical / Historical

As a documentary director whose career spanned nearly fifty years, Noriaki Tsuchimoto (December 11, 1928-June 24, 2008) was renowned for his documentaries about the mercury poisoning incident of the 1950s in Minamata, Japan, one of the world's most notorious cases of industrial pollution. Tsuchimoto began working at Iwanami Productions, a documentary production house that, while mostly making public relations films for Japanese corporations, also cultivated critically acclaimed postwar filmmakers. He started by making contracted public relations documentaries, which he, as with On the Road (1964), could turn into sly critiques of the institutional sponsor. After becoming and independent director, Tsuchimoto made films about the radical student movement, nuclear power, Hiroshima, and major left-wing artists such as Shigeharu Nakano. He remained concerned about environmental degradation, especially of the sea, and made another film on the Okhotsk Sea. He also went abroad and was one of the few filmmakers to document Afghanistan in the 1980s. Tsuchimoto was a student radical in college, even fighting for the Japanese Communist Party in rural villages and spending time in jail (his prison diaries are included in the collection). He worked at the Japan-China Friendship Commission before the Japanese state recognized the People's Republic of China and became an active player in Japan's major environmental movements. Tsuchimoto became a theorist of the documentary film and published many books on film and the environment.

Custodial History

Acquired by the Japanese Studies Librarian from Motoko Tsuchimoto.

Processing Information

Titles of items were provided by Noriaki Tsuchimoto’s wife, Motoko Tsuchimoto. Items which were not given a title have been assigned one based on the contents and indicated with square brackets. Inventory information created by Motoko Tsuchimoto is available in the collection.

Guide to the Noriaki Tsuchimoto Papers
compiled by Kohei Yamaguchi, Haruko Nakamura, and Alison Clemens
March 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English and Japanese.

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Yale University Library
P.O. Box 208240
New Haven CT 06520-8240 US
(203) 432-1735
(203) 432-7441 (Fax)


Sterling Memorial Library
Room 147
120 High Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours