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10 Japanese Movies You Should Have Seen Already


Japan has created many excellent movies, spanning almost every genre.

A major craze to emerge from Japan was anime – animated movies.  Anime is incredibly popular in Japan, and was later unleashed on the world, creating a unique and intriguing form of movie. Manga also comes from Japan.

With so many great movies to choose between, it can be difficult to decide what to watch next!  Try one of these top ten movies next time you are stuck or a group cannot agree:

1. Seven Samurai

This iconic Japanese movie is a must see for anyone interesting in Japan, learning the language, or discovering the culture.  It may be old, but it is a true classic!  It is action at its very best.  It tells the story of a poor village that uses a group of sorry looking samurais to protect them from bandits.

2. Godzilla

Another golden oldie, Godzilla was in a group of its own when it was made.  Often imitated but never beaten, the enormous mutant dinosaur movie shows society’s fears.

3. Ring

A cult horror movie, Ring was an original movie about Japanese ghosts.  Scary, shocking, and spectacularly terrifying, make sure the lights are all on when you watch Ring!

4. Battle Royale

A bloody, gory, and action-packed movie, Battle Royale also manages to infuse elements of dark humour.  With very realistic violent scenes, it is shocking and horrifying, yet simultaneously captivating.  It makes for edge of the seat compelling viewing.  The smart plot is thought provoking and memorable.

5. Spirited Away

An animated fantasy movie, Spirited Away involves a sulky child being taken to the spirit realm.  The parents are subsequently turned into pigs, and the child tries to overcome many challenges to return herself and her parents to the human world and their everyday lives.

6. Tokyo Story

Tokyo Story is one of the best movies ever made in Japan.  It is emotional, moving, captivating, and simple.  It captures the essence of humanity in a graceful and melancholic manner.

7. Akira

Another animated favourite, Akira combines crazy youngsters, motorbike gangs, and two obliterations of Tokyo.  The visual effects are better than the storyline, but the strange movie still manages to attract many fans.

8. My Neighbour Totaro

An animated fantasy movie, the award winning My Neighbour Totaro tells the story of two sisters who befriend benevolent spirits near to their rural home.  It is set in the post war period.

9. Fireworks

Combining a gangster style plot with soul and reflection, Fireworks is a real cinematic gem.  It shows the different lives of two former police officers, one who lives a serene and peaceful life and the other who most definitely does not!

10. Audition

Whilst the movie seems fairly typical to begin with, with a romantic comedy type plot, the bizarre twists and turns in the unfolding story makes it a must-see.

If you are struggling to understand Japanese movies, or are simply interested in learning more about the language, take a free language test and decide how to focus on increasing your linguistic skills.  Then you can watch all movies with ease!

Whether you want to watch a Japanese movie on the big screen, with snacks, friends, and an exciting atmosphere, or whether you want to relax at home with all your creature comforts close to hand, having the right language skills will make your movie so much more enjoyable!

What’s your favourite Japanese movie?