Japanese Movies



Japanese Movies in the news

Iwo Jima through Japanese eyes - a stunning war film 

The Philadelphia Inquirer - Jan 12 12:18 AM
Shot in the sad, dark color of ash and brightened only by streams of human blood, Letters From Iwo Jima is one of the great war movies - or antiwar movies - of all time.
An American director tells Japanese story 
Everett Herald - Jan 12 12:21 AM
In a remarkable piece of moviemaking daring, director Clint Eastwood has made two full-length films that examine a celebrated World War II battle ... from opposite sides. There have been movies that looked at battles from both sides, or from an anti-war view. But nothing quite like this.

Eastwood's 'Letters': Iwo from Japanese viewpoint 
Philadelphia Daily News - Jan 12 5:49 AM
WHILE CLINT Eastwood's "Letters From Iwo Jima" is being widely hailed as the best movie of the year, I'd like to give a shout out to "Flags of Our Fathers."

Up Next And Recaps 
CBS News - Jan 12 9:00 AM
COVER: Bad Cars: American buyers have been turning their backs on "Big Three" cars in favor of Toyotas and Hondas because the Japanese have been making superior quality vehicles. Surprise!

- Japanes Movies

Here is an article on Japanese Movies.

  • Cinema of China
  • Cinema of Hong Kong
  • Cinema Japanees Movies of Japan
  • Cinema of Korea
  • Cinema of Taiwan

Japanese cinema (映画; Eiga) has a history in Japan that spans Japnese Movies more than 100 years.


  • 1 Genres
  • 2 History
    • 2.1 The Jappanese Movies Japanse Movies Silent Era
    • 2.2 The 1930s
    • 2.3 The Japannese Movies 1940s
    • 2.4 The 1950s
    • 2.5 The Japanee Movies 1960s
    • 2.6 The 1970s
    • 2.7 The 1980s
    • 2.8 The Apanese Movies 1990s
    • 2.9 2000 and after
  • 3 Japanese films
  • 4 Footnotes
  • 5 References
  • 6 External Japaese Movies Japamese Movies links
  • 7 See also


  • Anime: Animation. Anime refers to "Japanese animation" in English.
  • Jidaigeki, period Jpanese Movies pieces featuring samurai, also known as chambara (onomatopoeia describing the sound of swords clashing).
  • Horror films such as Ringu, also known as J-Horror
  • Cult Horror, such as Battle Royale or Suicide Club
  • Kaiju: monster films, such as Gojira
  • Pink films, pornographic films. Often more socially-engaged and aesthically well-crafted than simple pornography.
  • Yakuza films: films about mobsters.


The Silent Era

The first film produced in Japan was the short documentary Geisha no teodori (芸者の手踊り) in June of 1899.

Japan's first star was Matsunosuke Onoe, a kabuki actor who appeared in over 1,000 films, mostly shorts, between 1909 and 1926. He and director Shozo Makino helped to popularize the jidaigeki genre.[1]

The first female Japanese performer to appear in a film professionally was the dancer/actress Tokuko Nagai Takagi, who appeared in four shorts for the American-based Thanhouser Company between 1911 and 1914.[2]

Some of the most discussed silent films from Japan are those of Kenji Mizoguchi, whose later works (e.g., The Life of Oharu) are still highly regarded today.

Most Japanese cinema theatres at the time employed benshi, narrators whose dramatic readings accompanied the film and its musical score which, like in the West, was often performed live. [3]

The 1923 earthquake, the Allied bombing of Tokyo during World War II, as well as the natural effects of time and Japan's humidity on the then more fragile filmstock have all resulted in a great dearth of surviving films from this period.

A study of the gendaigeki (contemporary/modern film drama) and writing for film in Japan in the 1910s to early 1920s, with select translations of scripts (complete as well as excerpts) is available in "Writing in Light: The Silent Scenario and the Japanese Pure Film Movement" (Joanne Bernardi, Wayne State University Press, 2001).

The 1930s

Unlike Hollywood, silent films were still being produced in Japan well into the 1930s. Notable talkies of this period include Mizoguchi's Sisters of the Gion (Gion no shimai, 1936), Osaka Elegy (Naniwa erejî, 1936) and The Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (Zangiku monogatari, 1939), along with Sadao Yamanaka's Humanity and Paper Balloons (Ninjo Kamifusen, 1937) and Naruse's Wife, Be Like A Rose (Tsuma Yo Bara No Yoni, 1935), which was one of the first Japanese films to gain a theatrical release in the U.S. However, with increasing censorship, the left-leaning tendency films of directors such as Daisuke Ito also began to come under attack.

The 1940s

Akira Kurosawa made his feature film debut with Sugata Sanshiro in 1943. With the SCAP occupation following the end of WWII, Japan was exposed to over a decade's worth of American animation that had been banned under the war-time government.

The 1950s

The 1950s were the zenith of Japanese cinema, and three of its films (Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Tokyo Story) made the Sight and Sound's 2002 Critics and Directors Poll for the best films of all time.[4] The decade started with Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950), which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and marked the entrance of Japanese cinema onto the world stage. It was also the breakout role for legendary star Toshiro Mifune.[5] 1952 and 1953 saw another Kurosawa film, Ikiru, as well as Yasujiro Ozu's Tokyo Story.

The year 1954 saw two of Japan's most influential films released. The first was the Kurosawa epic Seven Samurai, about a band of hired samurai who protect a helpless village from a rapacious gang of thieves, which was remade in the West as The Magnificent Seven.

That same year Ishirō Honda released the anti-nuclear horror film Gojira, which was translated in the West as Godzilla. Though it was severely edited for its Western release, Godzilla became an international icon of Japan and spawned an entire industry of Kaiju films. In 1955, Hiroshi Inagaki won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for Part I of his Samurai Trilogy.

Kon Ichikawa directed two anti-war dramas: The Burmese Harp (1956), and Fires On The Plain (1959), along with Enjo (1958), which was adapted from Yukio Mishima's novel Temple Of The Golden Pavilion.

Masaki Kobayashi made two of the three films which would collectively become known as the Human Condition Trilogy: No Greater Love (1958), and The Road To Eternity (1959). The trilogy was completed in 1961, with A Soldier's Prayer.

Kenji Mizoguchi directed The Life of Oharu (Saikaku Ichidai Onna, 1952), Ugetsu (Ugetsu Monogatari, 1953) and Sansho the Bailiff (Sansho Dayu, 1954). He won the Silver Bear at the Venice Film Festival for Ugetsu.

Mikio Naruse made Repast (1950), Late Chrysanthemums (1954), The Sound of the Mountain (1954) and Floating Clouds (1955).

Yasujiro Ozu directed Good Morning (Ohayō, 1959) and Floating Weeds (Ukikusa, 1958), which was adapted from his earlier silent Story Of Floating Weeds (1934), and was shot by Rashomon/Sansho the Bailiff cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa.

The 1960s

Akira Kurosawa directed the 1961 classic Yojimbo, which is considered a huge influence on the Western. Yasujiro Ozu made his final film, An Autumn Afternoon, in 1962. Mikio Naruse directed the widescreen melodrama When A Woman Ascends The Stairs in 1960; his final film was Scattered Clouds, the second of two films he completed in 1967.

Technicolor arrived in Japan in the '60s. Kon Ichikawa captured the watershed 1964 Olympics in his three-hour documentary Tokyo Olympiad (Tōkyō Orimpikku; 1965). Seijun Suzuki was fired by Nikkatsu for "making films that don't make any sense and don't make any money" after his surrealist yakuza flick Branded to Kill (1967).

Osamu Tezuka's Tetsuwan Atomu introduced anime to television and gave the world Astro Boy in 1963.

Nagisa Oshima, Kaneto Shindo, Susumu Hani and Shohei Imamura emerged as major filmmakers during the decade. Oshima's Cruel Story Of Youth, Night And Fog In Japan and Death By Hanging became three of the better-known examples of Japanese New Wave filmmaking, alongside Shindo's Onibaba, Hani's She And He and Imamura's Insect Woman.

Hiroshi Teshigahara's Woman in the Dunes (1964) won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Director and Best Foreign Language Film Oscars. Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan (1965) also picked up the Special Jury Prize at Cannes.

The 1970s

Nagisa Oshima directed Ai no koriida (In the Realm of the Senses; 1976), a World War II period piece about Abe Sada. Staunchly anti-censorship, he insisted that the film would contain hardcore pornographic material; as a result the exposed film had to be shipped to France for processing, and an uncut version of the film has still, to this day, never been shown in Japan. However, the pink film industry became the stepping stone for young independent filmmakers of Japan.

Yoji Yamada introduced the commercially successful Tora-San series, while also directing other films, notably the popular Yellow Hankerchiefs Of Happiness.

Kinji Fukasaku completed the epic Battles Without Honor And Humanity series of Yakuza films.

New wave filmmakers Susumu Hani and Shohei Imamura retreated to documentary work, though Imamura made a dramatic return to feature filmmaking with Vengeance Is Mine (Fukushu Suru Wa Ware Ni Ari, 1979).

The 1980s

Hayao Miyazaki adapted his manga Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind (Kaze no tani no Naushika) into a feature film (an anime of the same name) in 1984. Katsuhiro Otomo followed suit with his Akira in 1988. New anime movies were run every summer and winter with characters from popular TV anime. Shohei Imamura won the Golden Palm at Cannes for Narayama Bushiko (1983) (Ballad of Narayama; 1982).

Akira Kurosawa directed Kagemusha (1980) and Ran (1985). Likewise, Seijun Suzuki made a comeback, beginning with Zigeunerweisen in 1980.

Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira Kurosawa) debuted, initially with pink films and genre horror, though growing beyond this (and generating international attention) beginning in the mid 1990s.

The 1990s

Shohei Imamura again won the Golden Palm (shared with Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami), this time for Unagi (The Eel) (1997), joining Alf Sjöberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Bille August as only the fourth two-time recipient.

Takeshi Kitano emerged as a significant filmmaker with works such as Sonatine (1993), Kids Return (1996) and Hana-Bi (1997), which was given the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Takashi Miike launched a prolific career, making up to 50 films in a decade, building up an impressive portfolio with titles such as, Audition (1999), Dead or Alive (1999) and The Bird People in China (1998).

Former documentary filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda launched an acclaimed feature career with Maborosi (1996) and After Life (Wandafuru Raifu, 1999).

Hayao Miyazaki directed two mammoth box office and critical successes, Porco Rosso (1992) which beat E.T. (1982) as the highest-grossing film in Japan, and Princess Mononoke (1997) which also claimed the top box office spot until Titanic (1997) beat it.

2000 and after

Battle Royale was released, based on a popular novel by the same name. It gained cult film status in Japan and in Britain. Hayao Miyazaki came out of retirement to direct Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi; 2001), breaking Japanese box office records and winning the U.S. Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In 2002, Dolls was released, followed by a high-budget remake, Zatoichi in 2003, both directed and written by Takeshi Kitano. The horror films Ringu and Ju-on: The Grudge were remade in English and met with commercial success. In 2004, Godzilla: Final Wars (Gojira: Fainaru Wōsu), directed by Ryuhei Kitamura, was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Godzilla. In 2005, director Seijun Suzuki made his 56th film, Princess Raccoon. Hirokazu Koreeda proclaimed film festival awards around the world with two of his films Distance and Nobody Knows.

Japanese films

List of Japanese films


  1. ^ Who's Who in Japanese Silent Films (html). Matsuda Film Productions. Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  2. ^ Cohen, Aaron M.. Tokuko Nagai Takaki: Japan's First Film Actress (html). Bright Lights Film Journal 30 (October 2000). Retrieved on 2007-01-05.
  3. ^ For more on benshi, see the books:
  4. ^ http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/topten/poll/
  5. ^ Prince, Stephen (1999). The Warrior's Camera. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01046-3. , p.127.
Dym, Jeffrey A. (2003). Benshi, Japanese Silent Film Narrators, and Their Forgotten Narrative Art of Setsumei: A History of Japanese Silent Film Narration. Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 0-7734-6648-7. (review) and
(2001) The Benshi-Japanese Silent Film Narrators. Tokyo: Urban Connections. ISBN 4-900849-51-0.  [1])


  • Bowyer, Justin (2004). 24 Frames: The Cinema of Japan and Korea. Wallflower Press, London. ISBN 1-904764-11-8. 
  • Mellen, Joan (1976). The Waves At Genji's Door: Japan Through Its Cinema. Pantheon, New York. ISBN 0-394-49799-6. 
  • Prince, Stephen (1999). The Warrior's Camera. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-01046-3. 
  • Richie, Donald (2005). A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History, with a Selective Guide to DVDs and Videos. Kodansha America. ISBN 4-7700-2995-0. 
  • Sato, Tadao (1982). Currents In Japanese Cinema. Kodansha America. ISBN 0-87011-815-3. 

External links

  • Japanese Movie Database (in Japanese)
  • Midnight Eye
  • Resources for the study of Japanese Cinema at the University of Iowa Library
  • Japanese Cinema to 1960 by Gregg Rickman
  • The Problem of Identity in Contemporary Japanese Horror Films, discussion paper by Timothy Iles in the Electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies, 6 October 2005.
  • Female Voices, Male Words: Problems of Communication, Identity and Gendered Social Construction in Contemporary Japanese Cinema, discussion paper by Timothy Iles in the *Reviews of Japanese Films, in the electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies
  • Japan Cultural Profile - national cultural portal for Japan created by Visiting Arts/Japan Foundation

See also

  • World cinema
  • Anime
  • East Asian cinema
  • Glossary:Japanese film credit terms
  • History of cinema
  • Japan Academy Prize
  • Japanese television programs
  • List of Japanese Actors
  • List of Japanese Actresses
  • List of Japanese Directors
  • List of Japanese language films
  • List of Japanese movie studios
  • Nuberu bagu (The Japanese New Wave)
  • Seiyū
  • Tendency film
  • Tokusatsu
World cinema
Lists of films | Years in film | By Country | By Genre | By Language
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