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Japanese Movies - The Old, Modern, Fun, and Bizarre!

Updated on October 22, 2014

Kinkaku-Ji -- the Golden Temple. In Kyoto, Japan.

Kinkaku-Ji -- the Golden Temple. In Kyoto, Japan.
Kinkaku-Ji -- the Golden Temple. In Kyoto, Japan.

So, What Was Your First Japanese Movie? You Might Be Surprised!

My first glimpse of a Japanese movie? When I was a kid living with my folks in New Mexico, my sister and I would watch the Saturday matinee "Creepy Creature Feature" on our local TV station (we only had 3 stations [CBS, ABC, and NBC.... and maybe a PBS] in those days). The set was B&W, the sound was scratchy, but we saw our first Godzilla movie and I was hooked!

We later enjoyed watching "Godzilla and Mothra" and other variations of the Godzilla theme. The dubbing was always a bit off, but the movies were fun (and you'd have to try not to visualize the guy in the rubber Godzilla suit).

My First Introduction to Japanese Movies -- Through Big Lizards!

Godzilla 50th Anniversary 9 Movie DVD Collection (Godzilla (1998) / Godzilla 2000 / Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth / Godzilla vs. Destoroyah / Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla / Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla / Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack / Godzilla vs. Megaguirus)
Godzilla 50th Anniversary 9 Movie DVD Collection (Godzilla (1998) / Godzilla 2000 / Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah / Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth / Godzilla vs. Destoroyah / Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla / Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla / Godzilla, Mothra & King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All Out Attack / Godzilla vs. Megaguirus)

You can check out my Komodo Dragon website to see that I like BIG LIZARDS! Maybe it was my exposure to Godzilla movies when I was a kid that got me started.

This collection of "big lizard" stories (REALLY BIG LIZARD stories) will keep you on the edge of your seat. Starting with the original movie, and then going through all the renditions up to the more modern versions. Get this collection for your own today!

 

One Way to Get Closer to Japan is by Moving Closer -- the Other Way is Through Their Movies!

A few years later, and my family and I left New Mexico and were flying our way across the Pacific, through Hawaii and on to the Western Pacific island of Guam. As we became more familiar with the Japanese culture, language, and television that was readily available on the island (Guam is a major Japanese tourist destination), this new location gave our family more chances to see Japanese movies and shows with a whole different perspective. (And we also saw a bunch of huge lizards.)

Recently, now that I've left the island and live in California, we had some Japanese exchange students finish their month-long stay in our town and they missed the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami in their homeland while they were here. When we asked them what their impressions were about the disaster--they said, "Our people have a strong heart and this is just another thing to recover from." Awesome wisdom.

This website is a collection of my impressions and experiences with Japanese movies and provides you with links to resources and references such that you, too, can enjoy this cultural fun!

Zatoichi -- An Example of Blind Justice!

Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman: Vols. 1-4
Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman: Vols. 1-4

Zatoichi is another fine series of "old-style" samurai/ronin movies that detail the culture and lifestyle of old Japan. Zatoichi is a blind masseuse who also happens to be an accomplished swordsman--so good, that he is an extremely deadly foe if anyone crosses him.

Zatoichi is fun-loving and gentle when around kids and women, but when set upon or picked on (or when he sees the poor and weak set upon by goons), he unsheaths his cane-sword and does the slicing and dicing routine on the bad guys. Zatoichi movies always have a mix of sword-action, humor, traditional music, and sensitivity. Even if you get a movie without subtitles, you can still get a lot from the movie!

 

So Many Japanese Movies and So Little Space to Present Them!

So many great Japanese movies, and so little time (and especially not enough room to feature them all here)! I'll feature a few of them in the Amazon sections for your perusal. But if you are interested in any of those not featured (but still listed here), highlight and copy the title provided in the listing below, then click on one of the Amazon items listed and paste the copied title into the search box in the Amazon page. You may find other goodies while you are there in the suggested/related items section at the bottom of the Amazon page.

Some of the movies were intended for only a Japanese audience -- and thus may have dubbing and/or subtitles and then perhaps not. Other movies were intended specifically for a foreign (non-Japanese audience) and may have more English than Japanese featured in the story. Also, be aware that cultural tastes may vary -- so if you are adverse to blood and guts spurting through all the fight scenes, you may want to avoid any of the samurai movies (because they fought up-close-and personal with swords -- and those kind of wounds tend to spurt a lot). Japanese culture also does not have so many hang-ups with nudity such as what you'd find in their "ofuro" (Japanese baths ... sort of like a "hot tub") or in other situations. So, if you don't want to see any nudity, be sure to read the review of the movie before you get it. Many movies -- even the samurai movies -- will have some nudity involved. (Of course, you can always fast-forward through those parts, too ... but you'll have to be aware that those parts are coming so you can be prepared with the fast-forward button.)

In any case, there's a wide variety of flicks out there that will cater to all tastes!

  • Yojimbo & Sanjuro - Two Films By Akira Kurosawa - Criterion Collection
  • Rashomon - Criterion Collection
  • Inuyasha TV Series Collections
  • Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman
  • Ran
  • Tampopo
  • Speed Racer
  • Bayside Shakedown
  • Memoirs of a Geisha
  • Ultraman
  • Red Sun
  • Gung Ho
  • The Sea is Watching
  • Mr. Baseball
  • Kimba The White Lion
  • Kibakichi
  • Kunoichi
  • The Most Terrible Time in My Life
  • Naruto the Movie-Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow
  • The Ramen Girl

If you want to see a whole lot more goodies, you will have to click on one of those listed below, then always check out the suggested related items that will be listed at the bottom of the screen or let Amazon provide you with a huge list of goodies when you type in your keyword on their site.

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Do You Need Admission to See the Detective?

The Most Terrible Time in My Life
The Most Terrible Time in My Life

Directed by Kaizo Hayashi, The Most Terrible Time In My Life is a Japanese film shot in black and white to give it an old film noir look. Released in 1993 in Japan, the film mixes tame violence with comedy. In the movie, Maiku Hama (Japanese pronunciation of "Mike Hammer!" -- the character played by Masatoshi Nagase) is an unorthodox private eye. whose office is above a movie theater. If you want to visit his office you have to pay the admission fee.

 

The Movies Depicting Feudal Samurai Times Involve the Castles

The Movies Depicting Feudal Samurai Times Involve the Castles -- This is Fushimi-Momoyama-Jo, in Kyoto.
The Movies Depicting Feudal Samurai Times Involve the Castles -- This is Fushimi-Momoyama-Jo, in Kyoto.

A Classic Japanese Modern Flick! Lots of Fun!

Tampopo
Tampopo

Tampopo is the Japanese word for "dandelion" ... but this flick, considered a "ramen western" (instead of a "spaghetti western") ... is a fun romp through noodle houses and other culinary places. Amusing in a bunch of ways -- "situational comedy" ... Get your copy and enjoy it now!

 

The beautiful tile roofs and pine trees of Japan

The beautiful tile roofs and pine trees of Japan
The beautiful tile roofs and pine trees of Japan

An "American" Sushi Film? Yup -- this is one!

Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Jiro Dreams of Sushi

An American production of the quest to find the highest rated sushi chefs -- and resulting in this documentary-style movie of Jiro Ono -- the 85-year-old sushi master and his restaurant.

 

Sushi -- Yep, Sushi. Featured in many Japanese Movies -- Sometimes in Strange Ways!

Sushi -- Yep, Sushi. Featured in many Japanese Movies -- Sometimes in Strange Ways!
Sushi -- Yep, Sushi. Featured in many Japanese Movies -- Sometimes in Strange Ways!

When Your Dinner Attacks and Fights Back! Yup. Dead Sushi!

Dead Sushi
Dead Sushi

This flick is a humorous spoof of cooking movies, sushi movies, and creepy-crawlie movies all rolled into one. (Hmm. I wonder if those are "California Rolls?)

The main character of the movie shows some great martial arts (karate) moves and also fights off an army of sushi that attacks the patrons of the resort hotel and restaurant. Be forewarned, however, there is a brief nude scene in the flick (in the Japanese "ofuro" -- hot bath -- of the spa hotel) as well as a lot of sword-play with the accompanying spurting blood.

The movie had me laughing at all the ridiculous scenes ... but your tastes may vary. Enjoy!

 

Akira Kurosawa - Innovator and Visionary with Movies (and Inspiration for American Movies!)

Akira Kurosawa's creativity and films have influenced cinema world-wide.

For instance, his movie, Seven Samurai has reappeared as inspiration for many Western, Science Fiction, and Chinese Martial Arts movies such as

  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Beach of the War Gods
  • Battle Beyond the Stars
  • World Gone Wild

Seven Samurai has also inspired Indian films with similar plots:

  • Andha Naal
  • Khotay Sikkay
  • Rajkumar Santoshi's China Gate
  • Kamal Hassan's Virumaandi
  • Sholay

Kurosawa also used western influences for his films--his movie Ran is loosely based on William Shakespear's story, King Lear.

Novelists have also used Seven Samurai as inspiration for their novels: Stephen King's 5th Dark Tower novel, Wolves of the Calla had a similar plot line.

Kurosawa's Rashomon was remade by Martin Ritt in 1964--The Outrage. The Tamil films Andha Naal and Virumaandi, starring Kamal Hassan, tell the story in a way similar to the one Kurosawa used in Rashomon. More recently, the film Hero starring Jet Li, Ziyi Zhang, Tony Leung, and Maggie Cheung also features a Rashomon style story. The 2005 animated film Hoodwinked applies the narrative structure of Rashomon to the story of Little Red Riding Hood.

Rashomon not only helped to open Japanese cinema to the world, but also entered the English language as a term for fractured, inconsistent narratives--aka the "Rashomon Effect".

Yojimbo was another Kurosawa film that inspired some Western films. The one most famous was the one starring Clint Eastwood--A Fistfull of Dollars.

Akira Kurosawa's Compendium of Compositions! - Fantastic Films, Ground-Breaking Techniques, Eye-Popping Imagery!

AK 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa (The Criterion Collection)
AK 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa (The Criterion Collection)

Where else can you get so many Kurosawa films all assembled in one place?

If you love Japanese films - the imagery, the sword fights, the mystical landscapes, the vivid characters, this collection should be in your DVD player!

Get this collection now before it disappears!

 

Winter in Japan sometimes is featured in Samurai movies!

Samurai movies sometimes feature the setting during the winter. This scene is in Kyoto, Japan, during a December vacation.
Samurai movies sometimes feature the setting during the winter. This scene is in Kyoto, Japan, during a December vacation.

Samurai Drama at the Movies - The Japanese version of America's "Westerns"

Here in America, we've liked to watch our "Westerns"--those starring John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Jack Palance to name a few. These movies depict an earlier time in the U.S. -- when the West was really wild.

The Japanese like their "old-country" type movies as well. Except, instead of toting Colt 6-shooters and Winchester rifles, the characters in the Japanese "old-time" movies carry their katana (swords). Instead of wearing chaps, boots, and 10-gallon hats, the samurai or ronin wear their robes, the bamboo hats, and their geta or zori. In fact, Akira Kurosawa's film, Seven Samurai was later made into an American Western called The Magnificent Seven, starring Yul Brynner.

Japanese baths, called an "o-furo" -- feature prominently in Japanese films

Japanese baths, called an "o-furo" -- feature prominently in Japanese films
Japanese baths, called an "o-furo" -- feature prominently in Japanese films

Japanese architecture in the countryside -- fascinating lifestyle

Japanese architecture in the countryside -- fascinating lifestyle
Japanese architecture in the countryside -- fascinating lifestyle

When the Tides (and Storm Surge) Rise -- How It Can Be Handled

The Sea Is Watching
The Sea Is Watching

If you like Japanese movies of the type that Kurosawa would make, but with a more feminine (rather than Samurai) point of view, you should get the movie, "The Sea Is Watching".

Although this movie involves the rising sea levels caused by a terrible typhoon, the flooding effects of the storm surge and resulting disaster is very similar to that of a tsunami. This movie will give you great insight on how the Japanese would handle such a dilemma.

 

Godzilla on the Bay! .... eBay, that is... - They have re-runs in Japan just like they do elsewhere... and yes, Godzilla still comes back to visit!

When I was a kid, I thought about how cool it would be to turn on the TV and see a Godzilla movie any time I wanted to. Now, with the benefit of DVDs and DVD players, you can see a Godzilla movie any time you have the urge to see one.

You can see a bit more about Godzilla and other Japanese Monster Films Here!

Kibakichi - A Movie about Samurai, Werewolves, Ghosts, Demons, Good vs Evil, and, oh, did I mention Samurai?

Kibakichi combines samurai and monster action in a wild mix. Ronin samurai Kibakichi himself is part-man part-werewolf, and strives to discover the goodness he believes exists at the heart of every human being. But deadly obstacles stand in his way, including skeleton armies, giant spiders, more werewolves, and a whole lot more! This movie brings a lot of old Japanese legend, samurai culture, monsters, and myths together for a romp in the 16th century Japanese country-side.

Shomuni - The Power of the "Office Ladies"

Based on Gumi Yasuda's manga comic book of the same name, Shomuni is a TV comedy-drama serial in which the stories revolve around the Office Ladies of General Affairs Department 2 (Shomu ni, or GA-2) in a large multinational company called "Manpan Corporation".

GA-2 is called "the graveyard for female office ladies", because it is where female employees are dumped if they mess up elsewhere. Their jobs include replacing used toilet rolls, changing light-bulbs, organizing company outings, and other menial stuff. Their department is located in the basement in an unused storeroom. The company does this in the hope that these employees will quit due to the monotonous and meaningless nature of the job tasks, just so that the company will save on the costs of firing them.

As the drama serial progresses, these employees demonstrate that they have their own pride despite their being the most despised of female employees. In every episode, they end up saving the company from a potential catastrophe.

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The Japanese Detective Version of "Columbo" -- Furuhata Ninzaburo - Furuhata-san's method of crime-solving involves outwitting the criminals and letting them tr

Furuhata Ninzaburo is an unorthodox Japanese detective. He doesn't like wearing a suit and tie (like most Japanese detectives), but he wears a turtle-neck and a sport coat. He uses questioning and deduction in much the way Columbo or even Sherlock Holmes figures out crimes. Criminals leave evidence... it might not be obvious, but the criminals leave evidence. And, their own guilt and carelessness will usually set them up for being caught. Furuhata Ninzaburo always gets his man (or woman--if she did the crime!). Although subtitles are helpful, you can enjoy the drama even without the subtitles.

Bayside Shakedown - The Detectives of the Wangan Precinct and Aoshima Shusaku - Aoshima-san is another unconventional Japanese detective

Bayside Shakedown The Movie Blu-Ray (Region A) (English Subtitled) Japanese Movie
Bayside Shakedown The Movie Blu-Ray (Region A) (English Subtitled) Japanese Movie

This drama series focuses on Aoshima Shusaku (played by Oda Yuji) a young detective dedicated to the police force. He has an unconventional way of doing things (and he even likes to wear a fusty old raincoat in much the way the American detective Columbo does) but he is respected by his fellow police officers. His police office routine is similar to that of other Japanese salary men where they usually take on mostly trivial cases. The serious and high-visibility ones are taken over by detectives from headquarters--which doesn't set well with Aoshima, who wants to take on the major cases and who doesn't want to sit idly by while the other detectives handle the meatier cases.

 

Modern Japanese Movies Frequently Involve Their Trains

Modern Japanese Movies Frequently Involve Their Trains -- like this Shinkansen "Bullet Train" pulling out from Tokyo's Shimbashi Station.
Modern Japanese Movies Frequently Involve Their Trains -- like this Shinkansen "Bullet Train" pulling out from Tokyo's Shimbashi Station.

Modern Japan Movies Show Interesting Street Scenes

Modern Japan Movies Show Interesting Street Scenes
Modern Japan Movies Show Interesting Street Scenes

Subways and Trains play a large part in Japanese movies!

Subways and Trains play a large part in Japanese movies!
Subways and Trains play a large part in Japanese movies!

Maiku Hama (or, Mike Hammer) - The Japanese Private Investigator!

Maiku Hama Private Eye Trilogy (The Most Terrible Time in My Life/The Stairway to the Distant Past/The Trap)
Maiku Hama Private Eye Trilogy (The Most Terrible Time in My Life/The Stairway to the Distant Past/The Trap)

Do You Need Admission to See the Detective?

This is a great collection of three of the Maiku Hama stories.

Directed by Kaizo Hayashi, these movies, including "The Most Terrible Time In My Life" are Japanese films shot in black and white to give them an old film noir look. The films mix tame violence with comedy. In the movies, Maiku Hama (Japanese pronunciation of "Mike Hammer!" -- the character played by Masatoshi Nagase) is an unorthodox private eye whose office is above a movie theater. If you want to visit his office you have to pay the admission fee.

You can add this set to your collection of Japanese movies if you will get it now! (And you won't have to pay admission!)

 

What Are Your Favorite Japanese Movies?

See results

Copyright and Attribution Notice

NOTE: All photographic images in this website, with exception of those obviously in the Amazon, eBay, and similar sections, were shot on my own camera by me and are thus mine. Likewise, the narrative is original and based on my experiences. Your mileage may vary.

© 2008 David Gardner

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  • jasonkropp profile image

    jasonkropp 3 years ago

    I love anime as much as the next guy but I don't think any movie or show can top Seven Samurai...and the anime version of that movie (Samurai Seven) was also very good too.

  • astevn816 lm profile image

    astevn816 lm 3 years ago

    Godzilla was my first sci-fi movie too, must be a popular story as I see a new Godzilla movie advertised on TV

  • boneworld profile image

    Jackson Thom 3 years ago from West of Left South Lucky

    Nice, dude! I love kung-fu and samurai movies--and definitely the big lizard. Nice to see some love for anime, too.

  • profile image

    mcfitz 3 years ago

    Hey Dave, thanks for this great list. I have definitely added a few to my list. "Ran" was a special film for me. I remember watching it in about 1986 (?) in a wonderful little art-house movie theater in Monterey, California. That was the start of my love of foreign films.

  • Spirality profile image

    Spirality 3 years ago

    Great list! I definitely need to check out some more of the older Japanese films

  • SciTechEditorDave profile image
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    David Gardner 3 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

    @IanTease: Kill Bill was sort of a combo that brought in a lot of Japanese elements, but was primarily sort of a spy/agent action blood-bath combo ... Quentin Tolentino is sort of known for that genre. The movie did use a lot of Japanese techniques -- primarily with the sword-fighting and with the "Yakuza" meeting and the kimonos and architecture ... but other than that ... it doesn't have much connection.

  • IanTease profile image

    IanTease 3 years ago

    I cant say Ive seen any Im afraid. Was Kill Bill a homage to dozens of Japanese films or have I made that up? Fascinating lens, so much depth of infomation

  • OhMe profile image

    Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

    I guess Godzilla is the only Japanese Movie that I remember seeing. Very interesting.

  • profile image

    anonymous 3 years ago

    I've just recently watch "densha otoko" or train man....great movie...i heard that is quite famous in Japan.....a must watch....=)

  • profile image

    Ultimatedivemaster 3 years ago

    Japanese movies are great. And they do make some of the scariest...

  • profile image

    Vantis 3 years ago

    I always disliked Japanese cinema. Then I saw the Seven Samurai, and Rashomon and a few of the other masterpieces. I still dislike Their movies, but now I admit that there are a few (just a few) really great ones.

  • profile image

    laptopsbattery 3 years ago

    The Japanese movie I most like is the Miyazaki Hayao anime movie like The Girl Who Fell from the Sky Spirited Away and so on.

  • SciTechEditorDave profile image
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    David Gardner 3 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

    @Aladdins Cave: I used to have a lot more listed ... but Squidoo recently changed how many items we can list (on Amazon) ... so I had to cut out a lot that I like. I used to see a lot of Japanese movies when I lived on Guam ... but here in the U.S., I haven't sprung for the extra charge for "foreign programming channels" (Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German, French, Tagalog, etc.). We get a lot of Spanish channels, but that's not one of the languages I've enjoyed learning. So, in the meantime, I *collect* Japanese, Chinese, Russian, and Tagalog movies ... it's always fun to get them in the DVD player and enjoy them over and over (and it helps with picking up comprehension with the languages).

  • Aladdins Cave profile image

    Aladdins Cave 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

    The best TV series ever shown on Australian TV is not listed here. THE SAMURAI. Shintaro was assisted by Tombei. Maybe it never was a big hit in US. Maybe I missed it because you have so many listed.

    Cheers from DOWNUNDER

  • Joebeducci profile image

    Joebeducci 3 years ago

    @SciTechEditorDave: Great info!! Thank you so much, I'll try some of these.

    I saw the Last Samurai, I learned a lot about the samurai-culture in Japan.

  • SciTechEditorDave profile image
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    David Gardner 3 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

    @Joebeducci: Depends on what your tastes are ... First of all ... if you speak (or have tried learning) Japanese, then you may want to watch those that are specifically for Japanese audiences (with or without subtitles, they are sort of fun ... just because they show a lot of the cultural quirks that are interesting to watch).

    With Halloween coming up ... Kibakichi would be a good one -- it's a Japanese version of werewolves, ghosts, and the Japanese-style demons in sort of a drama-comedy-samurai-gothic combo. On the version I have, I can turn off the English dubbing (or keep it on) and the English subtitles (and keep the Japanese dialog). Be careful on this one around little kids -- there are some extremely creepy scenes in it and a brief bit of nudity.

    For modern movies, Bayside Shakedown with Yugi Oda is good -- it's not only a popular modern detective/police TV series in Japan, but they've also made at least 2 feature-length movies with the same characters. The two feature-length movies I have do have English subtitles (you'll have to figure out the commands by trial and error from the DVD menu ... once you get the hang of it, it gets easier). I also have a boxed set of the first season of the TV series ... this set does NOT have the English subtitles (but I speak enough Japanese that I can figure out what's going on and still enjoy the story). The other modern TV series I like is Furuhata Ninzaburo ... he's a quirkey detective (sort of like a Japanese version of the U.S. Columbo). The boxed set I have of this series also has Engish subtitles.

    For the more traditional (Japanese version of Cowboy/Wild West flicks) samurai movies, I like Abarenbo Shogun -- where the shogun dresses up like a commoner and goes around his territory's villages and rights wrongs with a lot of intrigue and swordplay. I have one set of these -- and they come with subtitles. If you want to go with some extreme swordwork ... the Zatoichi franchise is good -- I have about 5 of these ... Zatoichi is a blind massuese who is also expert at the sword and who rights wrongs ... by stumbling into situations (most of the time). All have subtitles that can be turned on or off.

    For movies that cater to the American/English-speaking audiences, you can get Tom Cruise's "Last Samurai" or the Zhang Zhiyi/Michele Yoh epic "Memoirs of a Geisha" ... they are in English, but feature a lot of the cultural aspects of Japan (Last Samurai is from the late 1800' [post-American Civil War]... Memoirs of a Geisha is from the 1930s through 1970s). Another of these made-for-American-audiences movies that I particularly like is "Ramen Girl" ... where an American gal travels to Japan to be with her musician boyfriend ... who dumps her when she gets there ... she's depressed and goes across the street to a ramen shop to mourn her situation ... and then decides to ask for a job working there ... and eventually asks to learn how to make ramen ... it's a campy film ... lots of humor and showing the language-barrier between folks who don't speak English and folks who don't speak Japanese. A few scenes are a bit on the uncomfortable side (might not be good for little kids), but the overall movie is quite good. Subtitles for the Japanese portion throughout the movie are good.

    I just got through watching "Dead Sushi" ... and it's a spoof horror movie that features a Sushi Chef's daughter who runs away from home and gets a job at a Japanese Inn ... and has to fight off sushi that comes back alive. It's dubbed in English (but was originally made for a Japanese audience). Be careful on this one .. the graphic blood and guts is a bit over the top ... and there's a brief unexpected surprise scene of nudity in the "ofuro" (Japanese bath). I don't recommend this one for little kids.

    Of course ... the first Japanese movies I encountered were the Godzilla flicks (the old ones from the 1960s ... some starring Raymond Burr) where you can almost see the guy walking around in the rubber creature costumes. Fun flicks, poor dubbing (which makes them more fun). And the traditional Japanese films by Akira Kurosawa (such as "Kagemusha" and "Ran") are more intense and deep ... you can see some of their themes represented in American movies such as "The Magnificent 7" (starring Yul Brynner) or "Star Wars" ...

    I hope this description helped! Thanks for visiting!

  • Joebeducci profile image

    Joebeducci 3 years ago

    I really don't know anything about Japanese movies. What movie should I watch first?

    Greets,

    Joebeducci

  • Meganhere profile image

    Meganhere 3 years ago

    I like Japanese horror films. Ringu scared me witless! It's great.

    Cool lens.

  • SciTechEditorDave profile image
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    David Gardner 3 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

    @Pat Goltz: Yes, Raise the Red Lantern is a *Chinese* movie.

  • Pat Goltz profile image

    Pat Goltz 3 years ago

    This one give me nostalgia. Would you believe I never saw Godzilla? The first Japanese movie I recall seeing was definitely Japanese, no question about it. I think Raise the Red Lantern was a Chinese movie, but that one really sticks in my mind.

  • Ben Reed profile image

    Ben Reed 3 years ago

    A great lense. Thank you.

  • NAIZA LM profile image

    NAIZA LM 4 years ago

    I love Asian films ever since. But the Japanese movies are exceptional too when it comes to the horror genre. I enjoyed reading your Japanese movie list. I'll be watching some of them when I have a chance.

  • Cynthia Haltom profile image

    Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

    I watched many Japanese movies and find them fascinating.

  • patinkc profile image

    patinkc 4 years ago from Midwest

    Of course Godzilla is the first Japanese movie I remember watching. Two of my favorite I didn't see you mention, but you might have - Kwaidan and Shall We Dance. And I also like Kagemusha and Rashomon. I'm a big fan of Japanese culture, including films! And I enjoyed watching Speed Racer and Pokemon! Love the lens!

  • profile image

    Dinhdong 4 years ago

    yes that S good film!

  • SciTechEditorDave profile image
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    David Gardner 4 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

    @knitsocks: Yup. I like Zatoichi!

  • SciTechEditorDave profile image
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    David Gardner 4 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

    @belinhafernandes: Most of these (in fact, almost ALL of these) are in my personal collection ... and yeah, I haven't stumbled over many of the new ones that are coming out. I occasionally visit Japanese Video stores in Japantown in San Francisco or San Jose or other cities ... and will pick up new ones that interest me. But I haven't been through Japan since 1981 (when I left Guam to come to the U.S.) ... Some of the Japanese videos I have are on VHS tapes .... and they are really ancient. I like that many are now being rerecorded on DVD and HDS video. The new capabilities with subtitles and scenes and even the extra goodies like director commentary, "how-it-was-made" featurettes, and cast interviews are also very nice! So... I'll have to check out Onna ga Kaidan wo Agaru Toki ... it sounds interesting. (I also have a huge collection of Chinese (mostly in Mandarin, but some in Cantonese) as well as some Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Korean films -- but those are discussed in some of my other lenses!) ... Ganbatte ne! Thanks for visiting and your comment!

  • SciTechEditorDave profile image
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    David Gardner 4 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

    @dmcbane: Yes, that's a good one. I just pulled my "Criterion Collection" DVD version of "Kagemusha" (The Shadow Warrior) from my collection to watch it again a few nights ago (I see new things every time I watch these flicks ... always a treat!). This is one of Kurosawa's classics. The imagery is powerful and the emotions run high through the whole movie.... sort of a tragic end, but still a satisfying way to resolve the story. Now, I'm going to watch the modern "Bayside Shakedown" ... :-) Thanks for dropping by!

  • dmcbane profile image

    dmcbane 4 years ago

    Among Kurosawa's movies, my favorite is Ikiru. I've seen it several times and it never gets old. Overall, I actually prefer Ozu's movies, though.

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    Elastara 4 years ago

    Fantastic lens on japanese movies! Really bring floods of memories and pleasant childhood nostalgia into my mind! Well done and keep it up!

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    belinhafernandes 4 years ago

    Great lens. I've seen some of the movies you have listed and a lot that are not in it. I love oriental movies and I would love to visit Japan too. I know a bit about the culture and read as often as I can to learn more. The movie that made me such a fan of Japanese movies is Onna ga Kaidan wo agaru toki, from director Mikio Naruse. I don't like terror movies but they have made some good ones too.

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    knitsocks 5 years ago

    Japanese movies! The best; I need more than one vote but anything Zatoichi is my all-time fave : )

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    anonymous 5 years ago

    Returning to congratulate you on front page honors!

  • UKGhostwriter profile image

    UKGhostwriter 5 years ago

    Terrific lens!

  • TraderGirl LM profile image

    TraderGirl LM 5 years ago

    Very informative lens. I'm a big fan of martial art films. So I have seen a few of the Japanese movies you showcased. I am a big fan of the Japanese anime, Bleach, English subtitles preferred. I think I get a better sense of the emotions by listening to the Japanese language. Great lens.

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    JoKelly LM 5 years ago

    I like Japanese especially the Seven Samurai, I heard that each of them represented a spirit (friendship, brave, intelligence, optimistic, leadership, future and fighting skills). While a combination of them forms the symbol of samurai. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kalafina profile image

    Kalafina 5 years ago

    Great selection of Japanese movies. My personal favorite is Taiyou no Uta (you can watch it through youtube). The movie stars the Japanese singer, Yui, who does an amazing job acting. Type it in on youtube and see it for yourself :)

  • CameronPoe profile image

    CameronPoe 5 years ago

    This is a great fun lens. i remember the days when a local channel would have a Godzilla marathon.

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    anonymous 5 years ago

    great selection of Japanese movies

  • TreasuresBrenda profile image

    Treasures By Brenda 5 years ago from Canada

    Great page, I'm not very familiar with Japanese movies -- if you have heard of The Hunger Games you might be interested in knowing that there was about 15 years ago a Japanese movie that has a very similar storyline.

  • SayGuddaycom profile image

    SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

    Hara Kiri is also an EXCELLENT Japanese movie.

  • Rangoon House profile image

    AJ 5 years ago from Australia

    So we have the Japanese to thank for Godzilla?! I learn something new every day. Happy St Patrick's Day!

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    Alex Graham 5 years ago

    This lens was lots of fun!

    Thanks for the posting!

    Alex

    Celebrity English

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    Edutopia 5 years ago

    Great lens, good collection of movies for the seasoned movie goer or those new to the market.

  • Inkhand profile image

    Inkhand 5 years ago

    This lens gave me a sudden impulse to watch some of these olden day classic movies. Thanks.

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    brilliantfireworks 5 years ago

    japanese horror is really good

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    NidhiRajat 5 years ago

    congratulations a ton!!!

  • lasertek lm profile image

    lasertek lm 5 years ago

    I usually watch Japanese horror movies. It gives me the creeps.

  • Actiongames LM profile image

    Actiongames LM 5 years ago

    Vary nice vid list. My favorite has to be the Yojimbo & Sanjuro films. Got to love that feudal honor system.

  • TheBestGadgets profile image

    TheBestGadgets 5 years ago

    I like Japanese horror movies the best. They've made some really good ones.

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    anonymous 5 years ago

    awesome stuff your sporting here, gave ya a 'thumbs up' for it too.

  • JMaltman profile image

    JMaltman 5 years ago

    Wow, after looking at this list, I realize how few of these classic Japanese movies I've ever seen. I've seen a lot more Japanese horror, anime, and others that you might find at an Asian film festival. But that would be subjects for a couple of other lenses. Great job!

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    vinc18 5 years ago

    Nice lens, thumb up

  • heehaw lm profile image

    heehaw lm 5 years ago

    yup i have watched zaitochi before, it is a briliant movie.

  • Ann Hinds profile image

    Ann Hinds 5 years ago from So Cal

    Went back to update my How to escape from Godzilla and reread your comment. Decided that I needed to add this as a featured lens. Thanks

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    goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

    YOU DID NOT INCLUDE TAMPOPO

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    neoglitch17 6 years ago

    Wow, what a great collection of movies! I will get and watch the Godzilla ones in the original Japanese on a later time. The office ladies ones look very, very interesting too. Thanks for sharing! :D

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    filmic 6 years ago

    great list. Kurosawa!

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    Oosquid 6 years ago

    I am now a lot more informed about Japanese films. I've sen many of the Godzilla type, and I'm pretty sure I've seen The Seven Samuria at some time. What I do remember is seeing a Japanese Sci -Fi movie many moons ago that really impressed me. Thanks for making this lens.

  • sorana lm profile image

    sorana lm 6 years ago

    A very well deserved Purple Star. Great lens. A very interesting collection of Japanese movies. Featured on My Visitors lens.

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    chrispell017 6 years ago

    really nice lens!

  • NAIZA LM profile image

    NAIZA LM 6 years ago

    Hey Editor Dave,

    I really enjoyed reading your Japanese movie compilation.. A totally great movie resource. Definitely, a fabulous five. ~Blessed by a Squid Angel.~

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    distancelearningcourses 6 years ago

    Hi Dave, thanks for your effort to writing such great informative lens on Japanese Movies. I love Japanese Horror Movies especially. I am sure you would have rewarded LOtD from Squidoo. Here after I will keep visiting this page... keep writing Good Lens.. LOL

  • andreaberrios lm profile image

    andreaberrios lm 6 years ago

    I love Japanese movies, specially the horror movies! great job!

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    Samurai-Man 6 years ago

    I love japanese movies. Especially the ones with ninja and their ninja swords.

  • SciTechEditorDave profile image
    Author

    David Gardner 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

    @dogodor: Howdy... nope. Don't live there any more. I lived there for 12 years... from my early teen years, junior high school, senior high school, college, and my first few jobs there. That's where I learned how to speak, read, and write Japanese, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese. (My first few jobs there were in the Japanese tourism industry.) If you'd like to know what Guam is like, see my lens about Guam: www.squidoo.com/guam_experience ... ) Thanks for commenting!

  • Lemming13 profile image

    Lemming13 6 years ago

    Finally watched Kibakichi - thank you so much for telling me about it, it was such fun!

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    inksquid9 6 years ago

    Lensrolled you on my Battle Royale lens. Japanese movies are truly magnificent.

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    anonymous 6 years ago

    You sure have come up with a lot of fun here Dave!

  • Fox Music profile image

    Fox Music 6 years ago

    Thank you for this Lens on Japanese Movies, It is Very Informative about the Genre

  • dogodor profile image

    dogodor 6 years ago

    Wow! You live in Guam? Awesome! What is that like?

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    WeirdStuff 6 years ago

    Japanese movies are something completely different. My perosnal favourite is Takeshi Kitano

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    jgelien 6 years ago

    I of course love the old Godzilla movies but one of my favorite Japanese movies is a parody of 'International Secret Police: Key of Keys'. Woody Allen took that one and re-dubbed it as a spy spoof called 'What's up Tiger Lilly?' I also liked 'Memoirs of a Geisha' but I liked the book more. I enjoyed your lens.

  • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

    MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

    Our local museum showed a Japanese movie a while back, one of the famous, classy directors. It was a series of vinettes, one was a line of men walking through a blizzard and it seemed to go on forever. I could feel their suffering. But very interesting

    Love Godzilla and all its offspring.

  • LabKittyDesign profile image

    LabKittyDesign 6 years ago

    Wow - so much lens goodness! We'll add three things 1) many of the Criterion DVD releases of Kurosawa's films include a commentary by critic Stephen Prince that are just superb, not to mention helpful in figuring out what the heck is going on (let's face it, a lot of Kurosawa can be confusing if you're not familiar with the history of feudal Japan). 2) The Zatoichi video and poster up there is from Beat Takeshi's remake of the original. It's a wonderful film, but Kurosawa fanatics hate it. Go figure. 3) You left out our favorite Samurai film: Yoji Yamada's Twilight Samurai. We include a review of it on our Books You Should Know lens (hey, what would a LabKitty comment be without a LabKitty plug?).

    Great lens!

  • charder profile image

    charder 6 years ago

    I love this lens! I used to watch Zatoichi movies every Saturday morning on IFC.

  • poptastic profile image

    Cynthia Arre 6 years ago from Quezon City

    Fantastic collection! I've been into Japanese pop culture since I was a teen so I've seen the Kurosawa stuff. Will definitely take your recommendations into consideration since I'm addicted to watching Japanese films/dramas lately.

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    Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

    I have seen most of the Kurosawa, Godzillas but none of the others!

  • italianizeyours profile image

    italianizeyours 6 years ago

    I really love the old Zatoichi movies. The Kurosawa movies are great too.

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    leezillu 6 years ago

    seen most of these but not all of them :)

  • thesuccess2 profile image

    thesuccess2 6 years ago

    Another great lens. I was shaken by the raw authenticity of Seven Samurai.

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    scar4 6 years ago

    I enjoyed watching the Last Samurai. It was an American movie though. For Japanese movies, I like godzilla.

  • ZablonMukuba profile image

    ZablonMukuba 6 years ago

    godzilla is still one of my favorite movies

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    anonymous 6 years ago

    saw Taiyo No Yuta

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    Carol Fisher 6 years ago from Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

    Blessed by an Angel - great lens.

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    GrowWear 6 years ago

    Have not seen many of these, but a Japanese film I did see, and will never forget, is Blind Beast. Congratulations for your Purple Star!

  • EditPhotos profile image

    Edit Photos 6 years ago from Earth

    Great Lens. A Squidoo Angel Monster Thumbs Up!

  • Lemming13 profile image

    Lemming13 7 years ago

    Super lens, definitely coming back. But how about some stuff on the new wave of anime feature films, and the live action versions? Death Note and 20th Century Boys are absolutely wonderful

  • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

    AuthorNormaBudden 7 years ago

    Congrats on your purple star! It's been featured in my Purple Star Series.

  • Charlino99 profile image

    Tonie Cook 7 years ago from USA

    I grew up watching Godzilla, Mothra, UltraMan, and others. Japanese movies were some of my most favorites. Memories of my brothers & I watching them on Saturday afternoons -- priceless. This is a great lens.

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    anonymous 7 years ago

    Great! Give you 5 stars! And my favorite one is Fatal Beauty (all Japanese movies)

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    California_Dreamin 8 years ago

    My favorite Japanese movie is Juzo Itami's Tampopo, definitely the funniest movie about ramen ever.

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    FreddyBenstein 8 years ago

    My all time favorite Japanese movie: The Mystery of Rampo.

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    Margaret Schaut 8 years ago from Detroit

    I never cared how hokey, Godzilla was always one of my favorites!

  • EelKat13 profile image

    EelKat13 8 years ago

    I love Godzilla. That's what got me started liking Japanese stuff. I started watching Godzilla and everything else just followed along in his footsteps.

    RE: about boarder boxes:

    I don't have a lens that tells how to do the boarder coding, but Glen's got one that tells how to get started: http://www.squidoo.com/advancedhtml

    You can change the colors by using different hex codes (http://www.immigration-usa.com/html_colors.html) and you can change the dots by changing the word dotted to: dashed, ridge, multi, solid, or double; and you can change the size by changing 2px to any other number (5px, 8px, etc)

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    Roy-Scribner 8 years ago

    Wow, lots of great stuff here - I love those posters!

  • aquariann profile image

    aquariann 8 years ago

    Neat lens! I'll have to check out some of those movies. I've seen Godzilla, and watched Ran in school years ago ... but that's about it!