Let’s Take A Brief Dive Into Japanese Cinema: Japan's 15 Legendary Movies!

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Warning: These 15 Japan's legendary movies can make you a coach potato.

1. Harakiri

Director: Masaki Kobayashi

Year: 1962

An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.

IMDb: 8,7

2. Spirited Away

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Year: 2001

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

IMDb: 8,6

3. Woman in the Dunes

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara

Year: 1964

An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.

IMDb: 8,5

4. Sansho the Bailiff

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi

Year: 1954

In medieval Japan, a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

IMDb: 8,4

5. Late Spring

Director: Yasujirô Ozu

Year: 1949

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

IMDb: 8,3

6. Ikiru

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Year: 1952

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

IMDb: 8,3

7. Ran

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Year: 1985

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

IMDb: 8,2

8. The Twilight Samurai

Director: Yoji Yamada

Year: 2002

As the feudal Japan era draws to a close, a widower samurai experiences difficulty balancing 2 young daughters, an aged mother, clan loyalties, and the sudden reappearance of his childhood sweetheart.

IMDb: 8,1

9. Departures

Director: Yōjirō Takita

Year: 2008

A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.

IMDb: 8,1

10. Love Exposure

Director: Sion Sono

Year: 2008

A bizarre love triangle forms between a young Catholic upskirt photographer, a misandric girl and a manipulative cultist.

IMDb: 8,1

11. Funeral Parade of Roses

Director: Toshio Matsumoto

Year: 1969

The trials and tribulations of Eddie and other transvestites in Japan.

IMDb: 8,1

12. Still Walking

Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda

Year: 2008

A family gathers together for a commemorative ritual whose nature only gradually becomes clear.

IMDb: 8,0

13. Fires on the Plain

Director: Kon Ichikawa

Year: 1959

In the closing days of WWII remnants of the Japanese army in Leyte are abandoned by their command and face certain starvation.

IMDb: 8,0

14. The Ballad of Narayama

Director: Shôhei Imamura

Year: 1983

In a poor 19th century rural Japanese village, everyone who reaches the age of 70 has to climb a nearby mountain to die. An old woman is getting close to the cut-off age, and we follow her last days with her family.

IMDb: 7,9

15. Battle Royale

Director: Kinji Fukasaku

Year: 2000

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

IMDb: 7,7

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