To get an in-depth glimpse at Japanese youth and pop culture, all you have to do is watch one of the many Japanese teen movies out there. The Japanese film industry has been active for well over a century with its first production occurring in 1897. Many Japanese teen movies are also vehicles for "idols," which are young Japanese teen stars that model, advertise, sing and act.

  1. "Kids" is a Japanese teen drama fantasy released in Japan in the winter of 2008. "Kids" stars the popular young Japanese male idol Koike Teppei as the main character, Asato. The plot focuses on Asato's return to his grimy neighborhood in order to be near his imprisoned mother. Asato has the mysterious power to be able to heal others that are suffering from health problems or accidents. The cast includes Chiaki Kuriyama, Hiroshi Tamaki and Yuki Saito.

  2. "Install" is a surrealistic teenage drama that came out in Japan on Christmas Day 2004. "Install" stars Japanese idol sensation Aya Ueto, who has been well-known since her early adolescent years. The plotline of the film is centered around 17-year-old Asako, who is uncomfortable and ambivalent about cultural expectations and stereotypes for women regarding their sexuality. The cast also includes Ryunosuke Kamiki, Shichinosuke Nakamura and Yoji Tanaka.

  3. "Yellow Tears" is a youthful drama that hit Japanese theaters in the spring of 2007. "Yellow Tears," which is the direct English translation to the Japanese "Kiiroi Namida," is a movie that focuses on several young men and their career hopes and aspirations. The film stars Satoshi Ohno, who is a popular Japanese radio DJ, artist, actor and singer.

  4. "Fantastipo" is a 2005 teenage comedy that tells the story of two young brothers, one of whom is adventurous and spirited and the other whom is responsible and practical. In "Fantastipo," the two young men (played by Tsuyoshi Domoto and Taichi Kokubun) take over as head of their father's company upon his retirement. However, this leads to some serious and troubling friction in the relationships for all of the family members

- Isabel Prontes