Japanese film industry is one of the oldest film industry in the world. It is the only film industry in Asia to have won 4 Academy Awards. Horror is one of the most popular genres of Japanese film industry followed by anime. In fact, Japanese horror movies have inspired Hollywood tremendously. Roshomon, one of the best Japanese movies introduced the world to the concept of rashomon storytelling. A lot of Hollywood and Bollywood thrillers use the rashomon concept.
If you are a movie buff and are interested in watching some of the best Japanese movies then I recommend getting a Netflix subscription. We bring 10 Best Japanese Movies to watch on Netflix.
#10 Shichinin No Samurai (Seven Samurai)
This is one of the popular Japanese movies of all times. The movie was released in 1954 and was directed by Akira Kurosawa (Roshomon’s director). Similar to Bollywood’s 70s movies, a local village is attacked by bandits but the bandits decide to return to the village after the harvest. The bandits conversation is overheard by one of the farmers. The farmer approaches the village head who decides to hire samurai to protect the village.
One of the popular Japanese movies of all time, Roshomon is a must-watch. A perfect who-dun-it? Roshomon is a story of three individuals – a samurai, his wife and bandit. In the beginning of the movie, we are told that samurai has been found dead. The woodcutter who had found samurai’s body has been summoned to the court. A courtroom drama, the story is told from each individual’s perspective – samurai’s wife, bandit, samurai’s spirit and woodcutter.
Also Read: Movies that are Based on the Rashomon Effect
#8 Zatoichi (The Blind Swordsman)
Zatoichi is a character created by novelist, Kan Shimozawa. The character is a blind swordsman. The movie follows Zatoichi, a blind swordsman, who gets caught in between townspeople and a local gang. Will he be able to help the townspeople?
#7 Suna No Onna (Woman in the Dunes)
Based on a novel, Suna No Onna can be a disturbing movie to watch. A school teacher from Tokyo goes to a village to collect insects. He misses his last bus and is taken by villagers to a house in the dunes that can be reached only by a rope ladder. When the school teacher wakes up next morning, he finds that the ladder is missing and the house is inhabited by a widow. Will he escape from village? Why have the villagers tricked him?
#6 Cold Fish
A Japanese horror-drama movie, Cold Fish is one of the best Japanese movies of all times. The movie is definitely not for the ones with a weak heart. It is a horror movie. The film is loosely based on two Tokyo serial killers (husband and wife) who owned a pet shop and murdered 4 people.
#5 Dare Mo Shiranai (Nobody Knows)
Based on Sugamo Child Abandonment case that took place in 1988, Dare Mo Shiranai will bring tears in your eyes. The movie begins with a young woman moving into a small apartment with her son. They soon unpack and it is shown that two children were packed in suitcases. The fourth child joins them soon. The three younger children are forbidden to step out of the house and do not attend school. Soon the mother abandons her children and the eldest sibling becomes the head and begins to take care of his siblings.
Harakiri or Seppuku is a form a Japanese ritual suicide. It was a practice reserved for a Samurai. One of the best Japanese movies, Harakiri is a period drama. An elderly samurai arrives at the estate of li clan to commit sepuku. The senior counselor tells hum about a young samurai who had previously come to the estate to commit seppuku but was murdered. Are the two samurais related? Does the elderly samurai have an ulterior motive?
#3 Soshite Chichi Ni Naru (Like Father, Like Son)
A story about love, affection and sudden betrayal sums up the plot of this movie. Hirokazu Koreeda explores the bond between a father and a son. The movie begins with a rich businessman, Kyoto who is a workaholic and ignores his wife and son. Kyoto soon gets to know that his son was switched at birth. His biological son is being raised by a couple who don’t have money but know the importance of family. Will Kyoto amend his ways?
#2 Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
One of the best Japanese movies, Mononoke Hime is a animated fantasy movie. Prince Ashitaka is cursed by a demon and has to leave his homeland to find cure for his curse. Enroute, he meets a wandering monk who tells him about Irontown. Irontown has been setup by Lady Eboshi by deforestation and the town is frequently attacked by a wolf pack. Will the prince side with wolf pack or lady Eboshi? Will he find cure for his curse?
#1 Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
One of the other best Japanese movies, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi has been directed by Hayao Miyazaki. An animated movie, the movie begins with a family of three moving to a new home. The father takes a wrong turn and they enter a magical world and get trapped. The parents are turned into pigs and the girl begins to work in the magical world while looking for a way to return back to her world. Will she be successful?
We hope you enjoy these Japanese movies. If we have missed a movie, then leave a comment below.