10 Most Popular Japanese Movies

Wednesday, January 26 by Annette Smith

Curious about the 10 most popular Japanese movies? A large online retailer rates the following movies as the top-selling Japanese films today. Arranged in order of relevance, here are some of the best Japanese movies ever produced. They represent a mix of film genre, including comedy, romance, mystery, history and a biographical sketch.

  1. “Departures” The most popular Japanese movie is “Departures,” a 2008 film originally titled “Okuribito.” It won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The story centers on an unemployed cellist preparing the dead for funerals—assisting departures, that is. The movie stars Masahiro Motoki, Ryoko Hirosue and Tsutomu Yamazaki.
  2. “Shall We Dance?” Another popular Japanese movie is “Shall We Dance?” or “Shall we dansu?” In this 1996 comedy, an unhappy Japanese accountant discovers a new passion when he secretly takes ballroom dance lessons. The film stars Koji Yakusho, Tamiyo Kusakari and Naoto Takenaka.
  3. “Hana” “Hana,” known in Japanese as “Hana yorimo Naho,” is a 2006 movie starring Junichi Okada, Rie Miyazawa and Arata Furuta. The black comedy focuses on a troubled young samurai who seeks revenge for his father’s death.
  4. “Under the Flag of the Rising Sun” “Under the Flag of the Rising Sun,” originally called “Gunki hatameku motoni,” is a best-selling Japanese movie from 1972. The anti-war drama tells the story of a war widow determined to clear her husband’s name after he is court martialed and executed for desertion. The film stars Tetsuro Tanba, Sachiko Hidari and Shinjiro Ebara.
  5. “Mushi-Shi” “Mushi-Shi,” also known as “Bugmaster,” is a 2006 movie based on a Japanese manga series. Starring Jo Odagiri, Nao Ohmori and Yu Aoi, the movie tells the story of Bugmaster. The mystical doctor travels through Japan curing the ill effects of the Mushi, supernatural creatures who spread plague.
  6. “Taste of Tea” Originally titled “Cha no aji,” “Taste Of Tea” is a Japanese movie from 2004. The critically acclaimed film, a Cannes Film Festival selection, follows the lives of the Haruno family living in a rural region north of Tokyo. The film stars Maya Banno, Takahiro Sato and Tadanobu Asano.
  7. “Japanese Wife” “Japanese Wife” is a 2010 Indian film produced in English, Bengali and Japanese. Starring Rahul Bose, Chigusa Takaku and Raima Sen, the movie centers on a village school teacher who marries his Japanese pen pal and remains faithful to her through the years while never actually meeting his wife.
  8. “The Hidden Blade” “The Hidden Blade” is a 2004 romantic drama originally called “Kakushi ken oni no tsume.” Set in 1860s Japan, the plot revolves around several samurai during a time of great change. The film stars Masatoshi Nagase, Takako Matsu and Hidetaka Yoshioka.
  9. “Love and Honor” “Love and Honor” or “Bushi no ichibun” is a popular romantic drama from 2006. Starring Takuya Kimura, Rei Dan and Mitsugoro Bando, the film looks at the relationship between a blind samurai and his wife, who makes a sacrifice to defend his honor.
  10. “Kabei: Our Mother” “Kabei Our Mother” is a 2008 biographical movie starring Tadanobu Asano, Mirai Shida and Cheiko Baisho. It tells the story of the childhood days of Teruyo Nogami, the film’s writer.

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