Foreign Films Set in Japan

by penchofifteenpolls | created - 4 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public

All eyes will be on Tokyo for this year's Summer Olympics, but Japan is a country that has attracted many foreign filmmakers to make movies featuring its culture, its people and its history.

Which of these foreign films set in Japan is your favorite? If you are not familiar with them, which one do you want to see the most?

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Poll by Pencho15

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1. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama

55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 416,778 | Gross: $111.11M

2. Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Romance

A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war.

Director: Alain Resnais | Stars: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Stella Dassas, Pierre Barbaud

Votes: 30,249 | Gross: $0.09M

3. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

89 Metascore

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.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryô Kase

Votes: 158,451 | Gross: $13.76M

4. The Wolverine (2013)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Sci-Fi

61 Metascore

Wolverine comes to Japan to meet an old friend whose life he saved years ago, and gets embroiled in a conspiracy involving yakuza and mutants.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima

Votes: 444,799 | Gross: $132.56M

5. Isle of Dogs (2018)

PG-13 | 101 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

82 Metascore

Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy's odyssey in search of his lost dog.

Director: Wes Anderson | Stars: Bryan Cranston, Koyu Rankin, Edward Norton, Bob Balaban

Votes: 152,286 | Gross: $32.02M

6. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

PG-13 | 145 min | Drama, Romance

54 Metascore

Nitta Sayuri reveals how she transcended her fishing-village roots and became one of Japan's most celebrated geisha.

Director: Rob Marshall | Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Ken Watanabe, Michelle Yeoh, Suzuka Ohgo

Votes: 143,474 | Gross: $57.49M

7. Godzilla (2014)

PG-13 | 123 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

62 Metascore

The world is beset by the appearance of monstrous creatures, but one of them may be the only one who can save humanity.

Director: Gareth Edwards | Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Bryan Cranston, Ken Watanabe

Votes: 399,397 | Gross: $200.68M

8. Ghost in the Shell (2017)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

In the near future, Major Mira Killian is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals.

Director: Rupert Sanders | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche

Votes: 206,201 | Gross: $40.56M

9. 47 Ronin (2013)

PG-13 | 128 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

28 Metascore

A band of samurai set out to avenge the death and dishonor of their master at the hands of a ruthless shogun.

Director: Carl Rinsch | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Hiroyuki Sanada, Ko Shibasaki, Tadanobu Asano

Votes: 154,551 | Gross: $38.36M

10. The Grudge (2004)

PG-13 | 91 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

49 Metascore

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.

Director: Takashi Shimizu | Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jason Behr, Clea DuVall, William Mapother

Votes: 141,996 | Gross: $110.36M

11. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

PG | 101 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

84 Metascore

A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armour worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.

Director: Travis Knight | Stars: Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes

Votes: 123,567 | Gross: $48.02M

12. Silence (I) (2016)

R | 161 min | Drama, History

79 Metascore

In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, who is rumored to have committed apostasy, and to propagate Catholicism.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano

Votes: 106,280 | Gross: $7.10M

13. Enter the Void (2009)

Not Rated | 161 min | Drama, Fantasy

69 Metascore

An American drug dealer living in Tokyo is betrayed by his best friend and killed in a drug deal. His soul, observing the repercussions of his death, seeks resurrection.

Director: Gaspar Noé | Stars: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, Olly Alexander

Votes: 75,500 | Gross: $0.34M

14. The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

PG | 113 min | Action, Family, Sport

55 Metascore

Daniel accompanies his mentor, Mr. Miyagi, to Miyagi's childhood home in Okinawa. Miyagi visits his dying father and confronts his old rival, while Daniel falls in love and inadvertently makes a new rival of his own.

Director: John G. Avildsen | Stars: Pat Morita, Ralph Macchio, Pat E. Johnson, Bruce Malmuth

Votes: 84,187 | Gross: $115.10M

15. Black Rain (1989)

R | 125 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

56 Metascore

Two NYC cops arrest a Yakuza member and must escort him when he's extradited to Japan.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Michael Douglas, Andy Garcia, Ken Takakura, Kate Capshaw

Votes: 52,180 | Gross: $46.21M

16. The Forest (I) (2016)

PG-13 | 93 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

34 Metascore

A woman goes into Japan's Suicide Forest to find her twin sister, and confronts supernatural terror.

Director: Jason Zada | Stars: Natalie Dormer, Eoin Macken, Stephanie Vogt, Osamu Tanpopo

Votes: 41,526 | Gross: $26.58M

17. Mr. Baseball (1992)

PG-13 | 108 min | Comedy, Romance, Sport

Jack Elliot, once a great baseball player, is forced to play in Japan where his brash, egotistical ways cause friction with his new teammates and friends.

Director: Fred Schepisi | Stars: Tom Selleck, Ken Takakura, Aya Takanashi, Dennis Haysbert

Votes: 10,817 | Gross: $20.88M

18. The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

45 Metascore

A teenager becomes a major competitor in the world of drift racing after moving in with his father in Tokyo to avoid a jail sentence in America.

Director: Justin Lin | Stars: Lucas Black, Zachery Ty Bryan, Shad Moss, Damien Marzette

Votes: 258,092 | Gross: $62.51M

19. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III: The Sacred Scroll of Death (1993)

PG | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

40 Metascore

When their closest friend April O'Neil discovers an ancient scepter with magical powers, the turtles must cow-a-bunga their way back to 17th century Japan to rescue her from the evil clutches of Lord Norinaga.

Director: Stuart Gillard | Stars: Elias Koteas, Paige Turco, Stuart Wilson, Sab Shimono

Votes: 32,192 | Gross: $42.66M

20. Wasabi (2001)

R | 94 min | Action, Drama, Comedy

53 Metascore

In Japan for the funeral of his long-lost love, a tough French detective learns that he also has a teenage daughter and that her life is in danger from the Yakuza.

Director: Gérard Krawczyk | Stars: Jean Reno, Ryôko Hirosue, Michel Muller, Carole Bouquet

Votes: 38,995 | Gross: $0.08M

21. Batman Ninja (2018)

PG-13 | 85 min | Animation, Action, Sci-Fi

Batman, along with a number of his allies and adversaries, finds himself transplanted from modern Gotham City to feudal Japan.

Director: Junpei Mizusaki | Stars: Kôichi Yamadera, Wataru Takagi, Ai Kakuma, Rie Kugimiya

Votes: 18,980

22. Emperor (2012)

PG-13 | 105 min | Drama, History, War

48 Metascore

As the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, General Fellers is tasked with deciding if Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. Influencing his ruling is his quest to find Aya, an exchange student he met years earlier in the U.S.

Director: Peter Webber | Stars: Matthew Fox, Colin Moy, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune

Votes: 13,713 | Gross: $3.35M

23. Babel (I) (2006)

R | 143 min | Drama

69 Metascore

Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Gael García Bernal, Mohamed Akhzam

Votes: 296,019 | Gross: $34.30M

24. The Pillow Book (1996)

Not Rated | 126 min | Drama

64 Metascore

A woman with a body writing fetish seeks to find a combined lover and calligrapher.

Director: Peter Greenaway | Stars: Vivian Wu, Ewan McGregor, Yoshi Oida, Ken Ogata

Votes: 12,821 | Gross: $2.29M

25. Silk (2007)

R | 107 min | Drama, Romance

39 Metascore

The story of a married silkworm merchant-turned-smuggler in 19th century France traveling to Japan for his town's supply of silkworms after a disease wipes out their African supply. During his stay in Japan, he becomes obsessed with the concubine of a local baron.

Director: François Girard | Stars: Michael Pitt, Keira Knightley, Kôji Yakusho, Sei Ashina

Votes: 11,266 | Gross: $1.10M

26. Lost in Translation (2003)

R | 102 min | Comedy, Drama

89 Metascore

A faded movie star and a neglected young woman form an unlikely bond after crossing paths in Tokyo.

Director: Sofia Coppola | Stars: Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Giovanni Ribisi, Anna Faris

Votes: 433,996 | Gross: $44.59M

27. The Ramen Girl (2008)

PG-13 | 102 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

An American woman is stranded in Tokyo after breaking up with her boyfriend. Searching for direction in life, she trains to be a râmen chef under a tyrannical Japanese master.

Director: Robert Allan Ackerman | Stars: Brittany Murphy, Toshiyuki Nishida, Tammy Blanchard, Soji Arai

Votes: 9,868

28. The Yakuza (1974)

R | 112 min | Action, Crime, Drama

American private-eye Harry Kilmer returns to Japan to rescue a friend's kidnapped daughter from the clutches of the Yakuza.

Director: Sydney Pollack | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Ken Takakura, Brian Keith, Herb Edelman

Votes: 8,407

29. Sands of Iwo Jima (1949)

Approved | 100 min | Action, Drama, Romance

75 Metascore

Haunted by personal demons, Marine Sgt. John Stryker is hated and feared by his men, who see him as a cold-hearted sadist. But when their boots hit the beaches, they begin to understand the reason for Stryker's rigid form of discipline.

Director: Allan Dwan | Stars: John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara, Forrest Tucker

Votes: 10,141

30. Minamata (2020)

R | 115 min | Drama

51 Metascore

War photographer W. Eugene Smith travels back to Japan where he documents the devastating effect of mercury poisoning in coastal communities.

Director: Andrew Levitas | Stars: Akiko Iwase, Kogarashi Wakasugi, Johnny Depp, Katherine Jenkins

Votes: 13,933

31. Sayonara (1957)

Not Rated | 147 min | Drama, Romance

A US Air Force major in Kobe confronts his own opposition to marriages between American servicemen and Japanese women when he falls for a beautiful performer.

Director: Joshua Logan | Stars: Marlon Brando, Ricardo Montalban, Patricia Owens, James Garner

Votes: 6,517 | Gross: $26.30M

32. Fear and Trembling (2003)

Unrated | 107 min | Comedy, Drama

75 Metascore

A Belgian woman looks back on her year at a Japanese corporation in Tokyo in 1990. She is Amélie, born in Japan, living there until age 5. After college graduation, she returns with a ... See full summary »

Director: Alain Corneau | Stars: Sylvie Testud, Kaori Tsuji, Tarô Suwa, Bison Katayama

Votes: 4,412

33. The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956)

Approved | 123 min | Comedy, Drama

In post-WWII Japan, an American captain is brought in to help build a school, but the locals want a teahouse instead.

Director: Daniel Mann | Stars: Marlon Brando, Glenn Ford, Machiko Kyô, Eddie Albert

Votes: 3,312

34. House of Bamboo (1955)

Approved | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Planted in a Tokyo crime syndicate, a U.S. Army Investigator attempts to probe the coinciding death of a fellow Army official.

Director: Samuel Fuller | Stars: Robert Ryan, Robert Stack, Shirley Yamaguchi, Cameron Mitchell

Votes: 3,300

35. You Only Live Twice (1967)

PG | 117 min | Action, Adventure, Thriller

61 Metascore

Secret Agent James Bond and the Japanese Secret Service must find and stop the true culprit of a series of space hijackings, before war is provoked between Russia and the United States.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Sean Connery, Akiko Wakabayashi, Mie Hama, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 103,999 | Gross: $43.08M



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