Movies for Japanese Culture students

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1.
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
 
2.
Tokyo Story (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 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.
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A cyborg policewoman and her partner hunt a mysterious and powerful hacker called the Puppet Master. (83 mins.)
Director: Mamoru Oshii
 
5.
Akira (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A secret military project endangers Neo-Tokyo when it turns a biker gang member into a rampaging psychic psychopath that only two teenagers and a group of psychics can stop. (124 mins.)
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo
 
6.
Double Suicide (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A doomed love between a paper merchant and a courtesan. (142 mins.)
 
7.
Train Man (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The supposedly true story of a 23-year-old otaku (Japanese geek) who intervenes when a drunk man is harassing several women on a train... (105 mins.)
 
8.
Fireworks (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Nishi leaves the police in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into depression, he makes questionable decisions. (103 mins.)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
 
9.
The Family Game (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A sendup of the stereo-typical Japanese family: dad is a salaryman jerk, unable to relate to anyone;... (107 mins.)
 
10.
Departures (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals. (130 mins.)
Director: Yôjirô Takita
 
11.
Pom Poko (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A community of magical shape-shifting raccoon dogs struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development. (119 mins.)
Director: Isao Takahata
 
12.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime. (134 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
13.
Fancy Dance (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Yohei, a punk rocker, has to become a Buddhist monk in order to inherit a mountain temple. Yohei though... (101 mins.)
Director: Masayuki Suo
 
14.
Shall We Dance? (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A successful but unhappy Japanese accountant finds the missing passion in his life when he begins to secretly take ballroom dance lessons. (136 mins.)
Director: Masayuki Suo
 
15.
Nobody Knows (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a small Tokyo apartment, twelve-year-old Akira must care for his younger siblings after their mother leaves them and shows no sign of returning. (141 mins.)
 
16.
The Pornographers (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Life of a pornographer who tries to stay under the radar of the mob. He has a mistress, a step-son, a step-daughter (whom he's attracted to) and a wife who believes her first husband was reincarnated as a restless carp. (128 mins.)
Director: Shôhei Imamura
 
17.
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A fictionalized account in four chapters of the life of celebrated Japanese writer Yukio Mishima. (121 mins.)
Director: Paul Schrader
 
18.
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it. (141 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
19.
Tampopo (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A truck driver stops at a small family-run noodle shop and decides to help its fledgling business. The story is intertwined with various vignettes about the relationship of love and food. (114 mins.)
Director: Jûzô Itami
 
20.
Nana (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A chance encounter between two girls of the same name, "Nana," triggers a series of events and relationships. (113 mins.)
Director: Kentarô Ohtani
“ based on the manga ” - mogari
 
21.
Pinpon (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The film traces the growth and friendship of two very different high-school ping-pong players. "Peco" Hoshino is a brash... (114 mins.)
Director: Fumihiko Sori
 
22.
The Burmese Harp (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In the War's closing days, when a conscience-driven Japanese soldier fails to get his countrymen to surrender to overwhelming force, he adopts the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk. (116 mins.)
Director: Kon Ichikawa
 
23.
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.)
 
24.
Kwaidan (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes. (183 mins.)
 
25.
Onibaba (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Two women kill samurai and sell their belongings for a living. While one of them is having an affair with their neighbor, the other woman meets a mysterious samurai wearing a bizarre mask. (103 mins.)
Director: Kaneto Shindô
 
26.
The Ballad of Narayama (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family. (130 mins.)
Director: Shôhei Imamura
 
27.
Paprika (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
When a machine that allows therapists to enter their patients' dreams is stolen, all Hell breaks loose. Only a young female therapist, Paprika, can stop it. (90 mins.)
Director: Satoshi Kon
 
28.
Chûshingura (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After their lord is tricked into committing ritual suicide, forty-seven samurai warriors await the chance to avenge their master and reclaim their honor. (207 mins.)
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
 
29.
The Cove (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health. (92 mins.)
Director: Louie Psihoyos
 
30.
Kuroneko (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Two women are raped and killed by samurai soldiers. Soon they reappear as vengeful ghosts who seduce and brutally murder the passing samurai. (99 mins.)
Director: Kaneto Shindô
 
31.
Godzilla (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
American nuclear weapons testing results in the creation of a seemingly unstoppable, dinosaur-like beast. (96 mins.)
Director: Ishirô Honda
 
32.
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
 
33.
Banshun (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father. (108 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
 
34.
The Eel (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A businessman kills his adulterous wife and is sent to prison. After the release, he opens a barbershop and meets new people, talking almost to no one except an eel he befriended while in prison. (117 mins.)
Director: Shôhei Imamura
 
35.
Sonatine (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Several yakuza from Tokyo are sent to Okinawa to help end a gang war. The war escalates and the Tokyo drifters decide to lay low at the beach. (94 mins.)
Director: Takeshi Kitano
 
36.
Ran (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him. (162 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
37.
Kagemusha (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place. (180 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
38.
Fires on the Plain (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In the closing days of WWII remnants of the Japanese army in Leyte are abandoned by their command and face certain starvation. (108 mins.)
Director: Kon Ichikawa
 
39.
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.)
 
40.
Ringu (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Ruthlessly murdered by her father, the ghost of a seer's daughter kills all those seven days after they watch the strange contents of a mysterious video tape, unless the viewer finds the escape clause. (96 mins.)
Director: Hideo Nakata
 
41.
The Grudge (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
An American nurse living and working in Tokyo is exposed to a mysterious supernatural curse, one that locks a person in a powerful rage before claiming their life and spreading to another victim. (91 mins.)
Director: Takashi Shimizu
 
42.
Enlightenment Guaranteed (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Two very different brothers get together for a temporary stay in a Japanese zen monastry. The trip from... (109 mins.)
Director: Doris Dörrie