Japanese Short Movies

Monday, April 11 by Ed Mulero

Japanese short films showcase the wonderful talent from the Land of the Rising Sun in these tiny nuggets of cinema joy. Short movies are a known art form that take small subjects and make the most impact for audiences to ponder in its tight run time. From animation to real life, Japanese filmmakers use the constraints of short movies to the fullest effect in order to transmit their ideas. Movies with short run times may only give a glimpse of what is happening to the Japanese characters and it is up to audiences to fill in the blanks. Japanese short movies are well crafted treasures for anyone who has a small amount of time to invest in the story across the screen.  

  1. "Life in Additional Time." Masaya Kakehi takes a short spin about second chances when a man is faced with a strange dilemma. Syuchi has been given additional time after the end of his life and now must ponder quickly what to do with the gift. The short movie's quirky style is matched with soccer-esque commentary for the man's final task.
  2. "Doraemon: A Grandmother's Recollections." The short Anime film by Susumu Watanabe features Nobita who misses his beloved grandmother after she passed away. A robotic cat called Doraemon helps Nobita travel back in time to reunite with his grandmother. The Japanese short movie won the Animation Film Award at the 55th Mainichi Film Awards. 
  3. "Bloody Date." Takena Nagao uses clay animation for this short movie piece about a date that goes horribly wrong. A young couple ventures out on their first date only to be interrupted by a rude ax murderer. She escapes to a house where her nightmare has only just begun once inside in this short black comedy that won the Toronto Japanese Short Film Festival – Audience Choice Award in 2008.
  4. "The House of Small Cubes/Tsumiki no ie." An old man tries to save his house from a flood by adding additional levels with cubes. The loss of his pipe sets off a series of flashbacks of his long, illustrious life.  Kunio Kato's Japanese short movie won the Academy Award in 2009 for Best Animated Short Film.
  5. "Right Place." Kosai Sekine directed this short study about an eccentric Japanese convenience store clerk. The young man suffers from an obsessive disorder for neatness whose job works with his mental condition. The short movie won the Best Short Film category for the Young Directors Award at Cannes in 2006. 

-Eduardo Camacho