10 Best Japanese Films

There are a lot of great Japanese films, but for our purposes here,  let's spotlight the 10 best Japanese films.

  1. "Rashomon" The first name in Japanese cinema is Akira Kurosawa, so it makes sense to load this list with Kurosawa films. The Village Voice put this movie in the top ten of its best films of the century, which is really saying something. It's easily the best Japanese film.
  2. "Seven Samurai" This is another Kurosawa film, which features seven unemployed samurai defending a village against attack. It's easy to see why Western film makers used Kurosawa films for inspiration. Some might have put this at number one in the 10 best. You may debate among yourselves, if you like.
  3. "Tokyo Story" This film tells the story of an older couple who visit their grandchildren in the city, only to to find out these young ones do not nave the time  of day for them. This may be set in Japan, but it's an international problem for many aging folks.
  4. "Ugetsu" Have you seen all the best American Civil War films? Then why not check out this Japanese film, which takes place in the Sixteenth Century of Japan's Civil Wars.
  5. "Chushingura" Also known as "The 47 Ronin," this film stars the great Toshiro Mifune in a story about corruption in high places.
  6. "Grave of the Fireflies" For World War II film buffs, this excellent film looks at the war from the other side as it surveys two children just trying to stay alive during that awful war.
  7. "Hana-bi" Also known by the title "Fireworks," this is a police story but one that also deals with the personal issues even police officers must face.
  8. "Crazed Fruit" Stop me if you've heard this one before. Two brothers fall for the same girl. Okay, it's not a new story, but few films have told this familiar any better.
  9. "Early Summer" This Yasuiiro Ozu film details the fall of a family, in the most detailed and beautiful way.
  10. "The Life of Oharu" Unlike "Early Summer," The Life of Oharu follows just one individual, a woman who sinks to the depth of becoming a prostitute. This film would easily fit at the top of the 10 most tragic Japanese films.
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