Mikio Naruse Collection  [DVD
From my American point of view Naruse is definitely what is called a "one-of-a-kind" film maker.
You can distinguish his films in a moment from any other Japanese film maker. He has a pessimistic understanding of life, but portrays it in an incisive "close to the bone" manner.
I live in California, near several large Universities -- and so was able to see a "retrospective" of Naruse's most important films -- but that was almost 30 years ago. The poster for the series showing Takamine going up those stairs in When A Woman Ascends the Stairs is framed and mounted on my wall.
BUT until this set was discovered by me -- I only had my memory to go on. Now I can watch When a Women, or Floating Clouds or Late Chrysanthemums whenever I want! Isn't "modern" life wonderful!
You do not need to be particularly interested in Japanese film to appreciate the wonders of these masterpieces. We will never be seeing ANY films with the so-so tenderness of his trapped people.
And they do seem to be people, not actors in a film. They have a life of their own given to them by the master, NARUSE, Mikio.