Japanese films worth watching

by BlackMonoilith | created - 04 Aug 2013 | updated - 04 Aug 2013 | Public
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1. Late Spring (1949)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

8.3
Rate this
    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.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 10,611

2. Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

Not Rated | 124 min | Drama

8.4
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    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.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyôko Kagawa, Eitarô Shindô

Votes: 11,481

3. Tokyo Story (1953)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama

8.2
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    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.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura, Setsuko Hara

Votes: 34,392

4. Floating Weeds (1959)

Not Rated | 119 min | Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The head of a Japanese theatre troupe returns to a small coastal town where he left a son who thinks he is his uncle, and tries to make up for the lost time, but his current mistress grows jealous.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Ganjirô Nakamura, Machiko Kyô, Haruko Sugimura, Ayako Wakao

Votes: 5,608

5. Ugetsu (1953)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

8.2
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    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.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyô, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Mito

Votes: 16,412 | Gross: $0.01M

6. I Was Born, But... (1932)

Not Rated | 100 min | Comedy, Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
91 Metascore

Two young brothers throw a tantrum when they discover that their father isn't the most important man in his workplace.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Tatsuo Saitô, Tomio Aoki, Mitsuko Yoshikawa, Hideo Sugawara

Votes: 3,811

7. Early Summer (1951)

Not Rated | 125 min | Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A family chooses a match for their daughter Noriko, but she, surprisingly, has her own plans.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Setsuko Hara, Chishû Ryû, Chikage Awashima, Kuniko Miyake

Votes: 5,324

8. Tôkyô no yado (1935)

80 min | Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Unemployed Kihachi and his two sons struggle to make ends meet. But that doesn't keep Kihachi from wooing single mother Otaka.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Takeshi Sakamoto, Yoshiko Okada, Chôko Iida, Tomio Aoki

Votes: 941

9. An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An aging widower arranges a marriage for his only daughter.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Shima Iwashita, Keiji Sada, Mariko Okada

Votes: 5,839

10. Good Morning (1959)

Not Rated | 94 min | Comedy, Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Two boys begin a silence strike to press their parents into buying them a television set.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Keiji Sada, Yoshiko Kuga, Chishû Ryû, Kuniko Miyake

Votes: 5,512

11. Hitori musuko (1936)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A widow sends her only son away to receive a better education. Years later, she visits him, finding him a poor school teacher with a wife and son.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chôko Iida, Shin'ichi Himori, Masao Hayama, Yoshiko Tsubouchi

Votes: 2,366

12. There Was a Father (1942)

Not Rated | 94 min | Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Shuhei Horikawa, a poor schoolteacher, struggles to raise his son Ryohei by himself, despite neither money nor prospects.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Shûji Sano, Shin Saburi, Takeshi Sakamoto

Votes: 1,902

13. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Adventure, Drama

8.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 257,659 | Gross: $0.27M

14. Rashômon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.3
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    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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 118,316

15. Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

8.3
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    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.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Votes: 49,381 | Gross: $0.06M

16. High and Low (1963)

Not Rated | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yutaka Sada, Tatsuya Nakadai, Kyôko Kagawa

Votes: 21,010

17. Red Beard (1965)

Not Rated | 185 min | Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Yûzô Kayama, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Reiko Dan

Votes: 12,837

18. Harakiri (1962)

Not Rated | 133 min | Action, Drama, History

8.7
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    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.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 21,959

19. Kwaidan (1964)

Not Rated | 183 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A collection of four Japanese folk tales with supernatural themes.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Rentarô Mikuni, Michiyo Aratama, Misako Watanabe, Kenjirô Ishiyama

Votes: 11,621

20. Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)

Not Rated | 156 min | Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Schoolteacher Hisako Oishi forms an emotional bond with her pupils and teaches them various virtues, while at the same time worrying about their future.

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Hideki Gôko, Itsuo Watanabe, Makoto Miyagawa, Takeo Terashita

Votes: 1,790

21. The Ballad of Narayama (1958)

Not Rated | 98 min | Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A kabuki theatre-inflected story about a poor village whose people have to be carried to a nearby mountain to die once they get old.

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Teiji Takahashi, Yûko Mochizuki, Danko Ichikawa

Votes: 1,996

22. Woman in the Dunes (1964)

Not Rated | 123 min | Drama, Thriller

8.5
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    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.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara | Stars: Eiji Okada, Kyôko Kishida, Hiroko Itô, Kôji Mitsui

Votes: 13,305

23. Gate of Hell (1953)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama, History, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A samurai pursues a married lady-in-waiting.

Director: Teinosuke Kinugasa | Stars: Machiko Kyô, Kazuo Hasegawa, Isao Yamagata, Yatarô Kurokawa

Votes: 2,435

24. Onibaba (1964)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Horror

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 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.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satô, Jûkichi Uno

Votes: 12,346

25. The Naked Island (1960)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A family of four are the sole inhabitants of a small island, where they struggle each day to irrigate their crops.

Director: Kaneto Shindô | Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Shinji Tanaka, Masanori Horimoto

Votes: 3,868

26. The Life of Oharu (1952)

Not Rated | 133 min | Drama

8.2
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    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.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Tsukie Matsuura, Ichirô Sugai, Toshirô Mifune

Votes: 4,770

27. The Makioka Sisters (1983)

Not Rated | 140 min | Drama, Romance

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

This sensuously beautiful film chronicles the activities of four sisters who gather in Kyoto every year to view the cherry blossoms. It paints a vivid portrait of the pre-war lifestyle of ... See full summary »

Director: Kon Ichikawa | Stars: Yoshiko Sakuma, Sayuri Yoshinaga, Yûko Kotegawa, Jûzô Itami

Votes: 1,072