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25 Best Japanese Movies of all times you must watch!

The Japanese film industry is one of the oldest film industries in the world. It has a history of over 100 years. Japanese movies have always been attractive to the audience because of their concepts and good action. So, if you wish to explore more in the Japanese cinema here is a list of the 25 best Japanese movies of all time that must not miss out.

1. Fireworks (1997)

Genre: Crime /Drama

Director: Takeshi Kitano

IMDb Ratings: 7.8/10

The movie is all about consequences and state of mind. The story revolves around a violent detective named Nishi whose wife is suffering from leukemia and his partner gets paralyzed due to a violent attack from gangsters. Nishi gets frustrated with his life and the series of unfortunate incidents happening and decides to quit his job and spend time with his wife. He falls short of money and decides to rob a bank. The movie is a combination of both artistic and emotional Journey. The film also won the prestigious Golden Lion Award at Venice Film Festival.

2. The Ringu (1998)

Genre: Horror

Director: Hideo Nakata

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

The Ringu is a tragic Japanese horror film that can give you sleepless nights. The movie is about a cursed Videotape when people watch it they die. With creepy ideas involving cursed technology, this is a very effective horror movie that manages to be tense and disturbing as time starts to run out for the characters, and it has a terrifying scene in the end that will surely give you chills. The movie has won 5 awards. If you are a horror movie fan then you must watch this movie.

3.Battle Royale (2000)

Genre: Action/Thriller

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

Battle Royal is based on the novel Shockwave by KoushunTakami. The movie revolves around a batch of 9th-grade students who are given a map, foodstuffs, and weapons and are sent into a deserted island. The plot of the movie goes through various twists and turns like love, jealousy, friendship, distrust, and several other elements came across each other in an intense situation in which the life of every individual is dependant

4.Spirited Away (2001)

Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Adventure

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

Spirited Away is a ‘feel-good’ classic film that portrays the journey of a young girl in growing up and taking responsibility for herself. The girl wanders into a world ruled by witches and monsters, where humans are turned into animals. When her parents eat the enchanted food, they turn into pigs and Chihiro must overcome her whiny self in order to enter the spirit world and win them back. 

5.All About Lily Chou Chou (2001)

Genre: Drama/Romance

Director: Rockwell Eyes

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

The movie is about how music is the healer when teenagers go through anxiety, depression, and emotional baggage. The movie gives a sad and emotional treatment and also takes you through the darker sides of society.

6. The Twilight Samurai (2002)

Genre: Drama/Romance

Director: Yoji Yamada

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

This is one of the best Samurai movies. The movie depicts the meaning of love and Family bonding when the circumstances are not favorable. It is set in japan during the period of the Meiji Restoration. Seibei is a widower and low-ranking samurai and the movie revolves around his life struggles with his two daughters. The treatment of the movie is brilliant.

7. Zatōichi (2003)

Genre: Action/Drama

Director: Takeshi Kitano

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

This is an absolutely enchanting and beautiful movie. The movie is a journey of Zatoichi a blind swordsman who works as a masseur and how he helps the villagers in fighting against the rival gangs and getting rid of criminals. The movie has brilliant fight sequences. The movie has also won the People’s Choice Award.

8.  The Taste Of Tea (2004)

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Director: Katsuhito Ishii

IMDb Rating: 7.7/10

The movie revolves around the Haruno family who is settled in a small town in the rural areas of Japan. The Wife is an artist and the husband is a hypnotist. They have a son who is in love with a schoolgirl and a daughter who sees bizarre visions. The movie is full of comedy but equally touches with charming performances.

9. Linda LindaLinda (2005)

Genre: Musical/Drama

Director: Nobuhiro Yamashita

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

Linda Linda Linda’s story revolves around four high school girls for whom learning how to play a single song in time for the school festival is the ultimate challenge. The festival itself is a delight to watch with its noodle booths, massage stands, and bull darts. The majority of the film portrays the band practicing the Blue Hearts songs, to their final performance, only covering the three days of the cultural festival and focusing on the four girls. Unlike a lot of high school films, Linda LindaLindaperfectly portrays the reality of school life, instead of the drama we see the girls hanging out and just wandering about.

10.Paprika (2006)

Genre: Animation/Sci-fi

Director: Satoshi Kon

IMDb Rating: 7.7/10

The movie is a full package of ingenious theme, mystery plot, funny moments, and psychedelic scenes. The movie is a happy/spooky mind trip. It has an amazing background theme, a genius script, and fluid animation. It can’t really get any better. It tells a story about the fixation people have with the internet and how different a person can be when online and in real life. The movie is a complete journey to find the missing devices and solving the mystery behind it.

11.The Magic Hour (2008)

Genre: Comedy

Director: KōkiMitani

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

This is a light-hearted comedy film. The movie revolves around a low-level gangster who is caught for having affair with his boss’s wife. If you want a good laugh then this movie is perfect. The movie has a lot of smart gags and brilliant performances by the actors.

12. Love Exposure (2008)

Genre: Romance/Drama

Director: Sion Sono

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

This is a romantic movie with lots of twists and turns. “Love Exposure” tunnels into serious topics such as warped parenting, sexual intolerance, and the way religious cults enslave damaged souls. This film also has a lot of styles to complement the melodramatic narrative. The runtime allows for the characters to develop at a gradual pace.

13. Still Walking

Genre: Drama

Director: HirokazuKoreeda

IMDb Rating: 8/10

The movie depicts the story of a family that just like any other, has layers of emotions and issues. A family that seems normal but are trying to grasp a sense of normalcy while going through loss and guilt.

14. Fish Story (2009)

Genre: Comedy

Director: Yoshihiro Nakamura

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

The movie begins in 2012 at a record shop, where the owner of the store plays the song “Fish Story” for a customer and explains the history. The majority of the time, the film engages, usually by arousing curiosity. The story moves back and forth in time. It is a joyous film that reveals in it’s fated optimism that music can change the world.

15. Symbol (2009)

Genre: Comedy/Fantasy

Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

The movie begins with a guy who wakes up in a white room which is completely empty except for one button. When he presses it, hundreds of new buttons appear on the walls, and pressing these bring a variety of objects into this room. When one button opens an exit which unfortunately seems impossible to reach, the man realizes he’s inside a puzzle and he will need all his wits to escape.

16. Confessions (2010)

Genre: Drama/Mystery

Director: Tetsuya Nakashima

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

One of the darkest, deeply psychological masterpieces that were ever directed. The movie is about a mother who seeks revenge from the people who were responsible for her daughter’s death. As the title suggests the movie is about confessions from people one after the other. The movie honestly glues your eyes to the screen.

17.  Wolf Children (2012)

Genre: Animation/Fantasy

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

This movie is a masterpiece. It depicts the sacrifices of a mother for her children. It is a unique and very heart-warming movie that even though it has a fictional touch it has a very deep message about life. The significance of a mother in the life of a child can’t be shown much greater than this film. This movie shows you how difficult it is to become a single parent.

18.A Story of Yonosuke (2013)

Genre: Drama

Director: Shuichi Okita

IMDb Rating: 7.6/10

This is an endearing movie that portrays the beautiful impact a person can have on others’ life. The movie is a subtle illustration of the fact that the social space is carried by language and by the speaking beings that inhabit this space as such. It is a beautiful movie depicting the innocence of a young man and how he sees the world for what it is without judging the people he comes across and the effect he has on their lives.

19. Wood Job (2014)

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Director: ShinobuYaguchi

IMDb Rating: 7.5/10

The movie is a visual treat for everyone who loves forests, villages, etc. it is a feel-good movie with a simple story. Itis a warm story about life in the Japanese countryside, the power of its nature, and most of all, finding one’s self. Yuki is lost in his life and is confused with what he wants. The film’s strongest point is definitely that it has a lot of energy and releases this on its audience through different elements.

20. 100 Yen Love (2014)

Genre: Drama/Sport

Director: Masaharu Take

IMDb Rating: 7.2/10

This is an entertaining and emotional movie. It’s a unique mix of seriousness and comedy, the film presents a series of disappointments in a young woman’s life that cumulatively convince her to take control of her own destiny. It also depicts the ugly face of Japanese society, family troubles, dysfunctional relationships, and the fear of solitude that can drive one to extreme actions.

21. I Am A Hero (2015)

Genre: Action/Drama

Director: Shinsuke Sato

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

One of the best zombie movies ever made with surreal visuals. “I Am A Hero” portrays along in a giddy, blood-soaked, immensely pleasurable rush, propelled by enthusiasm as infectious as a bite from the undead, that makes even the hoariest beats of the plot seem dipped in bright newness.

22. Your Name (2016)

Genre: Animation/Romance

Director: Makoto Shinkai

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

A rom-com about two teenagers and an interesting ability to swap bodies at any time within a week. They both grow to love each other as they live in the other’s lives. Your Name is a delight of a movie, an emotional adventure that crosses multiple genres. The movie seamlessly blends romance with science fiction to incredible effect. It’s bold and stunning with great characters and original storytelling.

23. Shoplifters (2018)

Genre: Drama/Crime

Director: HirokazuKoreeda

IMDb Rating: 8/10

Shoplifters portray a touching story that evokes so many different emotions and it does it well, it is simple at first sight but it’s so nuanced to a point where you’d find yourself thinking about a specific ending, preferably happy, but the movie sticks to realism and it dismantles the social norms with grace to a point where it offers a new insight to a world unknown to most, where people long for family love and they’re desperate to have someone to call family.

24. Masquerade Hotel (2019)

Genre: Drama/Mystery

Director: Masayuki Suzuki

IMDb Rating: 6.3/10

The movie is based on a KeigoHigashino book and was produced and released, like many Higashino adaptations, after a long battle over the book’s rights. The movie is about a serial killer who has been at work in Japan, it portrays their method varied and victims unconnected except for the cards featuring encoded coordinates for where the next killing will take place, with the fourth pointing at the Hotel Cortesia Tokyo.

25. We Are Little Zombies (2019)

Genre: Drama/Music

Director: Makoto Nagahisa

IMDb Rating: 6.9/10

A sweet and strange, sad, and touching exploration of grief and emotions, which is also somehow an homage to 80s video game Japanese aesthetic. The film revolves around the four kids who have lost their parents and are left with no future, no dreams, and no way to move forward. They decide to dress in scraps from a garbage dump, track down musical instruments, and decide to form a band. They call themselves LITTLE ZOMBIES.

So, now that you have a complete list of all timeless evergreen Japanese movies you can search for them and enjoy the beauty of Japanese cinema.

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