Top 20 Japanese Films

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1.
Ugetsu (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A tale of ambition, family, love, and war set in the midst of the Japanese Civil Wars of the sixteenth century. (96 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
2.
Tokyo Story (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them. (136 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
3.
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves. (207 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
4.
Eros + Massacre (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Two interwoven stories. The first is a biography of anarchist Sakae Osugi which follows his relationship with three women in the 1920s. The second centers around two 1960s' students researching Osugi's theories. (202 mins.)
 
5.
Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A businessman accidentally kills The Metal Fetishist, who gets his revenge by slowly turning the man into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal. (67 mins.)
 
6.
Harakiri (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn. (133 mins.)
 
7.
Love Exposure (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A bizarre love triangle forms between a young Catholic upskirt photographer, a misandric girl and a manipulative cultist. (237 mins.)
Director: Sion Sono
 
8.
Giants and Toys (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
In the middle of a fierce commercial competition between three caramel companies, an executive builds up a ditsy teenage girl as a mascot while simultaneously trying to uncover the rival companies' plans. (95 mins.)
 
9.
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A middle-aged bar hostess, constantly in debt, is faced with numerous social constraints and challenges posed to her by her family, customers and friends. (111 mins.)
Director: Mikio Naruse
 
10.
Branded to Kill (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A hit-man, with a fetish for sniffing boiling rice, fumbles his latest job, putting him into conflict with his treacherous wife, with a mysterious woman eager for death and with the phantom-like hit-man known only as Number One. (91 mins.)
Director: Seijun Suzuki
 
11.
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them. (123 mins.)
 
12.
Blind Beast (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A blind sculpter and his mother kidnap a young model. (86 mins.)
 
13.
Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression. (124 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
14.
Rashomon (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view. (88 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
15.
The Human Condition I: No Greater Love (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A Japanese pacifist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan. (208 mins.)
 
16.
Heroic Purgatory (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
An engineer's wife returns home with a lost teenager. A man posing as her dad tries to get her back, causing the engineer to recall his youth as a revolutionary, obscured by dreamlike disruptions of time and space, fantasy and reality. (118 mins.)
 
17.
The Life of Oharu (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Follows a woman's fight and survival amid the vicissitudes of life and the cruelty of the society. (148 mins.)
Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
 
18.
Ikiru (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
19.
Maborosi (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A young woman's husband apparently commits suicide without warning or reason, leaving behind his wife and infant. (110 mins.)
 
20.
Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young boys' coming of age tale set in a strange, carnivalesque village becomes the recreation of a memory that the director has twenty years later. (104 mins.)
Director: Shûji Terayama