Japanese cinema is among the most important cultural industries; it is the fourth largest market in terms of the number of films produced. Tokyo Story (1953) ranked third in the most important films of all time. The largest Japanese film studio is called Toho. The annual Japan Academy Film Prize hosted by the Nippon Academy is considered the Japanese equivalent of the Academy Awards.
History of Japanese Movies
The history of Japanese movies begins with the kinethoscope, marketed by Thomas Edison in the United States in 1894. It was first brought to Japan in November 1896. Lumière’s cameramen were the very first to make films in Japan. The very first Japanese film was shot in late 1897 in Tokyo. In 1898 some ghost shorts were made. Tsunekichi Shibata made a series of films with 2 famous stars playing a scene from a popular kabuki comedy.
At the birth of cinemas in Japan, there were the benshi, writers who sat next to the screen and told in words the silent moving images. The Benshi could be accompanied by music like the mythical films in Western cinemas. In 1908, Shōzō Makino, the pioneering director of Japanese cinema, began his important profession with Honnōji gassen, produced for Yokota Shōkai.
Onoe became the first Japanese film star, appearing in over 1,000 films, mainly short films, between 1909 and 1926. The first Japanese film production studio was created in 1909 by the Yoshizawa Shōten company in Tokyo. Many early film critics had negative judgments on the work of studios like Nikkatsu and Tenkatsu, judging their films too theatrical. not to use what were thought to be more cinematic methods of telling stories, relying rather on the benshi.
Japanese Movies From the 1920s
Japanese movies were more successful in Japan in the mid-1920s than foreign films, in part buoyed by the appeal of movie stars. Directors like Daisuke Itō and Masahiro Makino have made samurai films such as A Diary of Chuji’s Travels and Roningai which included provocative anti-heroes in fast-paced battle scenes that were both industrial hits and seriously notorious. Some stars, such as Tsumasaburo Bando, Kanjūrō Arashi, Chiezō Kataoka, Takako Irie and Utaemon Ichikawa, have been motivated by Makino Film Productions and have formed their own independent production in businesses of which directors such as Hiroshi Inagaki, Mansaku Itami and Sadao Yamanaka have developed their skills.
With the rise of left-wing political movements and trade unions in the late 1920s,were so-called left-wing filmsborn. In contrast to commercial products. The Marxist Proletarian Film League of Japan (Prokino) made works in smaller sizes (such as 9.5mm and 16mm), with more extreme intent. Left-wing propaganda films underwent serious censorship in the 1930s, and Prokino members were jailed and the movement crushed.
A later variation of The Captain’s Daughter was among the very first sound films. He used the Mina Talkie System. The Japanese film market split into 2 groups; one kept the Mina Talkie System, while the other used the Eastphone Talkie System used to make Tojo Masaki’s films. The 1923 earthquake, the Battle of Tokyo during World War II, and the natural results of Japan’s weather and humidity on unstable, combustible nitrate films actually led to a terrible lack of lasting films from this period.
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Japanese Movies from the 1930s
Unlike the West, silent films were still produced in Japan until the 1930s; as late as 1938, a third of Japanese movies were silent. An Inn in Tokyo by Yasujirō Ozu (1935), a precursor of neorealism, was a silent film, and was one of the very first Japanese films to hit theaters in the United States; Kenji Mizoguchi’s The Sisters of the Gion (Gion no shimai, 1936); Elegy of Osaka (1936); and The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939); and Humanity and Paper Balloons by Sadao Yamanaka (1937).
Film critics have shared this vigor, with many film magazines such as Kinema Junpo and newspapers publishing in-depth conversations. A cultured “impressionist” critique pursued by critics like Tadashi Iijima, Fuyuhiko Kitagawa and Matsuo Kishi was dominant, yet opposed by left-wing critics like Akira Iwasaki and Genjū Sasa who sought an ideological revision of the films.
The 1930s saw a greater participation of the federal government in cinema which took greater authority on the film market, in 1939. The government motivated certain types of cinema, producing propaganda films and promoting documentaries, cultural films, made by directors like Fumio Kamei. Theorists of cinema as Taihei Imamura and Heiichi Sugiyama promoted the documentary and realistic drama, while directors such as Hiroshi Shimizu and Tomotaka Tasaka produced fiction films.
Japanese Movies from the 1940s
Since the Second World War and the economic crisis, unemployment has come to be prevalent in Japan and the film market has suffered. Throughout this period, when Japan was expanding its empire, the Japanese federal government saw cinema as a propaganda tool to reveal the splendor and invincibility of the Empire of Japan. Therefore, many films from this period portray militaristic and patriotic styles.
In 1942, Kajiro Yamamoto’s film War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaysia represented the attack on Pearl Harbor; the film used unique results directed by Eiji Tsuburaya, consisting of a miniature design of Pearl Harbor itself. Akira Kurosawa made his first action film with Sugata Sanshiro in 1943.
The first film released after the war was Yasushi Sasaki’s Soyokaze from 1945. Onlist of production restrictions the CIE’s David Condein 1945, nationalism, massacre, patriotism and suicide, violent and merciless films, and so on, ended up being banned products, making historical dramas substantially difficult to produce. As a result, the stars who actually used historical drama have shifted to modern drama: Chiezō Kataoka’s “Bannai Tarao” (1946), Tsumasaburō Bandō’s “Torn Drum (1949), Hiroshi Inagaki’s” The Child Holding Hands and ” King) by Daisuke Itō.
The duration after the American occupation caused an increase in variety in the cinematic circulation thanks to the increased production and appeal of the film studios of Toho, Daiei, Shochiku, Nikkatsu and Toei. the 4 excellent artists of Japanese cinema: Masaki Kobayashi, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi and Yasujirō Ozu. The very first collaborations between Akira Kurosawa and star Toshiro Mifune were Drunken Angel in 1948 and Stray Dog in 1949. Yasujirō Ozu directed the successful film Late Spring in 1949.
Japanese Movies from the 1950s
The 1950s began with Akira Kurosawa’s cult movie Rashomon (1950), Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1951 and Oscar for best strange film I was in 1952, and they mark the entry of Japanese cinema on the world stage. Famous star Toshiro Mifune also appears. In 1953 Entotsu no mieru basho by Heinosuke Gosho entered competition at the 3rd Berlin International Film Festival.
The 1950s are commonly thought of as the golden age of Japanese cinema. 3 Japanese films of these years (Rashomon, Seven Samurai and Tokyo Story) appeared in the top 10 polls of critics and directors of Sight & Sound for the best films of all time in 2002. They also appeared in the polls of 2012, with Tokyo Story ( 1953) which surpasses Citizen Kane at the top of the rankings.
War films then began to be produced. “Listen to the Voices of the Sea” by Hideo Sekigawa (1950), “Himeyuri no Tô – Tower of the Lilies” by Tadashi Imai (1953), “Twenty-Four Eyes” by Keisuke Kinoshita (1954), ” ” The Burmese Harp “by Kon Ichikawa (1956), and other works destined for the terrible experience of war, one after another, ended up having a great social impact. Other nostalgic films such as Battleship Yamato (1953) and Eagle of the Pacific (1953) they were produced in the same way mass.
Rentaro Mikuni, a Japanese movie star has appeared in over 150 films since it launched on the big screen in 1951, and has won 3 Academy Awards for Best Actor and more than 7 nominations. The first Japanese film in color was Carmen Comes Home directed by Keisuke Kinoshita and launched in 1951. Gate of Hell, a 1953 cult film by Teinosuke Kinugasa, was the very first film to use Eastmancolor film.
In 1952, during the post-war period, when the pain of the war was still strong, Kaneto Shindō made a cult film of Japanese cinema, full of dark and realistic atmospheres. This is Children of Hiroshima. Takako Ishikawa is a teacher off the coast of Hiroshima and has not returned to his city hit by the atomic bomb in 4 years. His trip to Hiroshima becomes a journey to his destroyed homeland, in search of surviving old friends.
Teinosuke Kinugasa has made avant-garde masterpieces of Japanese silent cinema years before such as A page of madness. Gate of Hell was the first color film and the first Japanese film to be dist awarded outside Japan, earning an Academy Award in 1954 for Best Sanzo Wada Costumes and an Honorary Award for Best Foreign Language Film. And it also won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the first Japanese film to win the award.
In 1954, another Kurosawa film, Ikiru, was in competition at the 4th Berlin International Film Festival. The protagonist, Watanabe (Takashi Shimura), works as an accountant in a Tokyo office. He discovers he has stomach cancer that has metastasized to the liver. After the diagnosis, Watanabe decides to abandon his life of mediocre contentment and focus on living his last days with dignity and meaning.
In 1955, Hiroshi Inagaki won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for Part I of his Samurai trilogy and in 1958 he won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for Rickshaw Man. Kon Ichikawa directed 2 dramas antiwar: The Burmese Harp (1956), which was chosen for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, and Fires On The Plain (1959), along with Enjo (1958).
Mizoguchi won the Silver Bear at the Venice Film Festival for Ugetsu. Mizoguchi’s films mainly deal with the disasters caused to women by Japanese society. Ugetsu tells the story of a samurai who leaves his family to seek wealth and is seduced by a woman from an ancient noble family, neglects his wife and falls prey to greed and power. Ugetsu is a Japanese word meaning “illusion” or “deceptive image”
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Modified for its Western release, Godzilla ended up being a worldwide icon of Japan and spawned a whole sub-genre of kaiju movies, as well as the longest-running film franchise. of history. Godzilla is a Japanese monster known for its destructive power. Godzilla’s name comes from the Japanese words “gojira” which translates to “whale” and “gorilla”. Godzilla is a giant monster that first appeared in the 1954 film that emits powerful radioactive emissions and has the ability to emit atomic breath from its mouth. The first Godzilla film was created as a scare tactic for people living near the French Communist nuclear test site in the Pacific Ocean. This giant monster became popular with Japanese audiences and was soon featured in 28 Japanese films produced between 1954 and 1975.
Japanese Movies from the 1960s
Toshiro Mifune was at the center of many of Kurosawa’s films. The number of films produced peaked in the 1960s. Yasujirō Ozu made his last film, An Autumn Afternoon, in 1962. Mikio Naruse directed When a Woman Climb the Stairs in 1960; his latest film was 1967 Scattered Clouds.
Kon Ichikawa recounted the watershed of the 1964 Olympics in his three-hour documentary Tokyo Olympiad (1965). Director Seijun Suzuki was fired from production company Nikkatsu for “makingmake films thatno sense and make no money” after his surrealist yakuza underworld film Branded to Kill (1967).
The 1960s were the peak years of the Japanese New Wave movement , which began in the 1950s and continued into the early 1970s. Cruel Story of Youth, Night and Fog in Japan and Oshima’s Death By Hanging, along with Kaneto Shindo’s Onibaba, Hani’s Kanojo to kare and Imamura’s The Insect Woman, ended up being some of the best-known examples of Japanese New Wave cinema. .
Documentary has played an essential function in the New Wave, as directors such as Hani, Kazuo Kuroki, Toshio Matsumoto and Hiroshi Teshigahara have gone from documentary to fiction, while directors such as Oshima and Imamura have also made documentaries.
Teshigahara won the Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for Woman in the Dunes (1964) and was chosen for the Oscar for Best Director and Best Foreign Film. Masaki Kobayashi with Kwaidan (1965) was also selected for the special jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Japanese Movies from the 1970s
The film industry has made films in many ways, such as Kadokawa Pictures’ larger budget films, or made up of violent or explicitly sexual material and language that could not be programmed on TV. The result was that the pink cinema market ended up being the springboard for numerous young independent directors.
Toshiya Fujita realized the revenge film Lady Snowblood in 1973. In that year, Yoshishige Yoshida made the film Coup, a portrait of Kita Ikki, the leader of the coup Japanese state in 1936. The film had a great critical response in Japan.
Kinji Fukasaku finished the impressive yakuza series Battles Without Honor and Humanity film. Yoji Yamada presented the Tora-San commercial series, directing other films as well, including the popular The Yellow Handkerchief, which won the very first Japan Academy Prize for Best Picture in 1978.
Japanese films from the 1980s
Japan’s movie industry was successful in the 80s. The decade saw many high-budget action films that became popular with audiences around the world. Several Japanese directors have become famous for their work. One of them was Kinji Fukasaku, director of Battle Royale and Battle Royale II: Requiem, two hilarious and utterly engaging manga-style films about the battle for survival. Another was Nagisa Oshima, who directed Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence and In the Realm of the Senses. Oshima was known for using his films to criticize society, politics and culture. He spent six years as an assistant director at Shochiku studios, working with directors including Yasujiro Ozu and Mikio Naruse.
Japanese films from the 1990s
Japanese movies of the 90s introduced new concepts to the world such as anime and manga. The anime has become popular in the West and has appeal to a broad demographic. Japanese films of the 1990s saw an increase in public spending and emerging sectors such as computer games and animation. These two movements have led to films focusing more on the sci-fi and fantasy genre than before.
During the same period, Japanese cinema also experienced a resurgence of new genres and styles. Audiences got a breath of fresh air when new movies were released that weren’t just a retelling of Hollywood movies. Audiences now had to be ready to see films that combined horror with comedy, family drama with science fiction.
Led by directors such as Takashi Miike, Hideo Nakata and Kiyoshi Kurosawa, the 1990s saw an increase in the amount of Asian horror films. The 1990s also saw an increase in the number of independent Japanese directors who took risks with their films. Kiyoshi Kurosawa: Kurosawa is known for his dark humor and his style in both directing and writing. Masayuki Suo: Suo is known for his stylistic storytelling which is often reflected in people’s memories of their childhood. Tetsuya Nakashima: Nakashima is known for its suspenseful storytelling, which often involves children.
Japanese Movies from the 2000’s
In recent years, there has been a revival of Japanese cinema led by Hayao Miyazaki, considered one of the most successful directors in history. The number of films made in Japan has increased since 2000 and this trend seems to continue even today with famous directors such as Naomi Kawase and Hirokazu Koreeda winning awards at festivals such as Cannes or the Venice Film Festival respectively.
A recent example of Hollywood’s involvement in Japan is “The Wolverine,” which was filmed in Tokyo and starred Hugh Jackman. Since the release of “The Wolverine” in 2013, Hollywood has steadily increased its investments in Japan. This includes films shot in Tokyo, which support Japanese actors or actresses and collaborate with Japanese studios.
in addition to the great masters of Japanese cinema already mentioned such as Yasujiro Ozu, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi there are many Japanese directors who have contributed to making the history of cinema in their country great. Some names: Hayao Miyazaki, Takashi Miike, Nagisa Oshima, Kaneto Shindo, Kinji Fukasaku, Masaki Kobayashi, Shiro Honda, Shinya Sukamoto . Some of the most famous Japanese contemporary directors still in business are Takeshi Kitano, Hayao Miyazaki, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Takashi shimizu, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hideo Nakata.
Japanese Movies to Watch
A list of Japanese movies that have marked the history of cinema. Immortal and timeless masterpieces. From the classics of Ozu and Mizoguchi to hidden and rare pearls you have probably never heard of.
Souls on the Road (1921)
Souls on the Road (Japanese: 路上の霊魂, Rojō no Reikon) is a 1921 silent film directed by Minoru Murata. It is regarded as one of the most important films in the history of Japanese cinema, and has had a significant influence on world cinema.
The film is based on the play The Lower Depths by Maxim Gorky, and tells the story of a group of people who find themselves living in a hovel in Tokyo. The characters are all outcasts, and the film explores the themes of poverty, despair and the struggle for survival.
Souls on the Road is a gritty and realistic film, which does not spare the audience from the harsh realities of life. However, it is also a poetic and moving film, offering a fascinating insight into life in Tokyo in the early 20th century.
The film was directed by Minoru Murata, one of the pioneers of Japanese cinema. Murata was a very influential director, and his style influenced many other directors, including Akira Kurosawa.
Souls on the Road is an important and influential film that played a significant role in the history of Japanese cinema. The film is still today a fascinating and moving work of art, which is worth seeing.
Orochi (雄呂血) is a 1925 Japanese silent film directed by Buntarō Futagawa and starring Tsumasaburō Bandō. It is considered one of the greatest silent films ever made, and is still highly regarded by film buffs today.
The plot of the film is set in the Edo period and tells the story of a young samurai named Gennosuke (Tsumasaburō Bandō). Gennosuke is a skilled swordsman, but is also impulsive and easily irritated. He is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, and is forced to flee his home.
Gennosuke takes refuge in a remote village, where he meets a woman named Otane (Misao Seki). Otane is a kind and thoughtful woman, and she falls in love with Gennosuke. However, Gennosuke’s past catches up with him, and he is forced to duel a powerful samurai.
Orochi is a complex and multifaceted film. It is a samurai drama, a love story and a political thriller. The film is also a visual gem, with stunning cinematography and impactful production design.
Orochi is a classic of Japanese cinema, and is still considered one of the greatest silent films ever made. The film is a must-see for anyone interested in Japanese cinema, or the art of silent cinema.
A Page of Madness (1926)
It is a 1926 Japanese silent movie directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. Independent movie lost for 45 years until found by Kinugasa in his warehouse in 1971, the movie is the product of an experimental group of musicians in Japan called the School of New Perceptions who attempted to conquer naturalistic representation. Yasunari Kawabata, who would go on to win the 1968 Nobel Prize in Literature, was credited for the initial story. It is an agonizing and lively work of fantastic psychological power, one of the toughest and most extreme Japanese movies ever seen. Its disturbing scenes, lighting and editing make it an astonishing journey into madness, a reflection on our disturbing and wonderful subconscious.
A Diary of Chuji’s Travels (1927)
It is a 1927 Japanese jidaigeki silent movie starring Denjirō Ōkōchi and directed by Daisuke Itō. It was initially released in 3 movies, all of which were believed to be long lost until they were discovered and recovered in 1991. The movie was, according to a 1959 survey, called the best Japanese movie ever. At the time of its release, Itō was the leader of a new style of samurai movie that included criminal heroes as well as very fast-paced sword fight scenes.
Heroism of the Faithful Dead: True Testament of the Chūshingura (1928)
It is a 1928 Japanese black and white silent movie directed by Shozo Makino. It was produced to honor Makino’s 50th birthday celebration and is based on the timeless theme of the Chūshingura. During the production of this movie, a fire broke out, damaging parts of the initial movie, but luckily it was salvaged.
It is a 1928 Japanese silent drama movie directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. It is thought to be the first or among the first Japanese movies to be seen in Europe. Although it was received positively by movie critics in Berlin and Paris, the movie critic of the New York Times said that the movie “has the quality of authenticity, but also a heavy pace”. In the years since, movie critics have consistently spoken of the impact of German Expressionist movie on Crossroads, especially the work of Fritz Lang.
The Frightful Era of Kurama Tengu (1928)
It is a 1928 black and white silent Japanese movie directed by Teppei Yamaguchi. Become part of the Kurama Tengu series and includes the fight between the title characters, Kurama Tengu, and his opponent. The last scene, including the sword fights of an exciting pace, is one of the things that made this movie famous, especially the great performance of the kids.
Walk Cheerfully! (1930)
“Walk Cheerfully!” is a 1930 Japanese film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. It is a silent film from the pre-war period and belongs to the Japanese gangster film genre. The plot follows the story of a young gangster, played by Minoru Takada, who falls in love with a young woman and tries to change his life of crime to build a better future.
The film is known for its directorial style and intimate approach to character portrayal. Like many of Ozu’s works, “Walk Cheerfully!” reflects on the Japanese society of his time and the dynamics of human relationships.
What Made Her Do? (1930)
What made her do? (何が彼女をそうさせたか, Nani ga kanojo o sō saseta ka) is a 1930 Japanese silent film directed by Shigeyoshi Suzuki. It was the highest-grossing Japanese film of the silent film era. Notable as an example of the trendy film genre, it allegedly caused a riot during its screening in Tokyo’s Asakusa district.
The film tells the story of Sumiko (Keiko Takatsu), a young woman who is sent to live with relatives who don’t like her. She is treated badly and is eventually forced to work as a prostitute. Sumiko eventually rebels against her situation and sets fire to the orphanage where she is being held.
What made her do? is a powerful and controversial film that explores the themes of social injustice, poverty and exploitation. The film was met with mixed reactions upon its release, with some critics praising its social commentary and others criticizing its violence.
Despite her controversy, What made her do it? is a significant film in Japanese cinematography. It is one of the earliest examples of the mainstream film genre and helped pave the way for more socially conscious films in the years to come.
Tokyo Chorus (1931)
“Tokyo Chorus” is a 1931 Japanese film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. It is considered one of the director’s masterpieces and an important work of Japanese silent cinema.
The film tells the story of a young office worker named Okajima, played by Takeshi Sakamoto, who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression. After being fired from the company where he worked due to a misunderstanding, Okajima faces various difficulties as he tries to maintain his dignity and take care of his family.
“Tokyo Chorus” is known for its realistic style and the way it deals with social and family issues. Ozu has a distinctive style of portraying the daily life and inner conflicts of his characters. The film offers an authentic look at Japanese society at the time and the challenges families faced during the economic downturn.
The film had a significant impact on Japanese cinematography and helped solidify Ozu’s reputation as one of the greatest directors in the history of cinema. If you like arthouse cinema and social realism, “Tokyo Chorus” might be an interesting work to discover.
Where Now Are the Dreams of Youth? (1932)
Where are the dreams of youth? (1932) is a Japanese silent film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. The film tells the story of four college friends who are forced to ask a fourth, the son of a company president, for a job. The film explores the themes of friendship, betrayal and the loss of innocence.
The film is set in the early 1930s, during a time of economic hardship in Japan. The four friends all come from different social backgrounds, but are united by their shared dreams of a better future. However, when they enter the workforce, they are faced with the harsh realities of life. The film follows them as they struggle to find work, make ends meet, and maintain their friendships.
Where are the dreams of youth? is a beautifully shot film that captures the essence of Japanese culture in the early 1930s. The film is also a poignant depiction of the loss of innocence and the challenges of adulthood.
I Was Born, But… (1932)
The film “I was born, but…” is a classic of Japanese cinema directed by Yasujirō Ozu and released in 1932. It is a comedy-drama that tells the story of two young brothers who collide with the reality of social hierarchy when their family moves to a new city.
The film explores themes of growing up, misunderstandings between generations and the struggle for identity in a rapidly changing world. It is considered one of Ozu’s masterpieces and an important example of Japanese silent cinema.
Passing Fancy (1933)
“Passing Fancy” is another film directed by Yasujirō Ozu, released in 1933, and is part of the “Youth and Family” trilogy together with “I Was Born, But…” and “Otona no miru ehon – Umarete wa mita keredo ” (international title: “A Story of Floating Weeds”).
The film tells the story of a single father named Kihachi and his relationship with his son Tomio. The plot focuses on Kihachi’s struggle to keep his job and the struggles he has in balancing his role as a father and his hopes for a better future.
Like many Ozu films, “Passing Fancy” explores familiar themes, the importance of interpersonal relationships and the search for happiness in the small joys of everyday life. Ozu is known for his realistic and intimate style, which captures the details and dynamics of human relationships in a profound and meaningful way. The film is considered another significant example of 1930s Japanese cinema.
Apart from You (1933)
Apart from You (1933) is a Japanese silent drama film written and directed by Mikio Naruse. The film follows Kikue, an elderly geisha, whose teenage son, Yoshio, is displeased with his profession. Yoshio feels close to Terugiku, a young colleague of Kikue, and she invites him to her parents’ house in a fishing village.
The film is a gentle and devastating portrait of the lives of three women struggling to find their place in the world. Kikue is a woman who has seen the best and worst in life, and is now struggling to maintain her dignity in a world that despises her. Terugiku is a young woman who is trying to find her way in life, but is hampered by her family’s expectations and her own insecurity. Yoshio is a boy who grew up in a difficult environment, and is now looking for a sense of belonging.
Apart from You is a film that explores the complexities of family relationships, the limits of society and the strength of women. It’s a film that is still relevant today, and one that offers a profound and moving insight into the human condition.
The Water Magician (1933)
“The Water Magician” (Suizokukan no majo) is a 1933 Japanese film directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. It is a black and white silent film based on the novel “Kasane” by Naoya Shiga. The plot takes place in the first half of the 20th century and tells the story of a young woman named Sumiko, who works as an illusionist in a Tokyo water park. Sumiko is a fascinating and mysterious figure, able to capture the attention of the public with her magical performances. However, her life takes a turn when she falls in love with a young college student, and the story unfolds through the drama and challenges they face.
The film is known for its lyrical storytelling and Mizoguchi’s mastery of using direction and imagery to express the characters’ feelings and emotions. ‘The Water Magician’ was a success in its time and helped solidify Mizoguchi’s reputation as one of the great directors of Japanese cinema. Though the film is silent, its narrative strength and visual appeal made it an enduring work of art in the cinematic landscape.
Japanese Girls at the Harbor (1933)
“Japanese Girls at the Harbor” (also known as “Harbor Tale” or “Minato no Nihon Musume”) is a classic Japanese silent film directed by Hiroshi Shimizu. It was released in 1933 and is considered one of the important works of early Japanese cinema.
The film tells the story of two young girls, Sunako and Dora, who live in a small coastal town. Both work in a local factory and share a close friendship. However, their lives take a dramatic turn when a young man named Henry comes to town. Both girls become infatuated with him, leading to a love triangle that explores themes of youth, love, and the intricacies of human emotion.
“Japanese Girls at the Harbor” is praised for its realistic depiction of everyday life in Japan in the early 1930s and its evocative depiction of the characters’ emotions. Hiroshi Shimizu’s direction and storytelling style contributed to its acclaim.
Being a silent film, it relies on visual storytelling and expressive acting to convey the story, making it a unique cinematic experience. If you are a fan of classic cinema or are interested in exploring early Japanese films, ‘Japanese Girls at the Harbor’ is definitely worth a watch.
Dreams Every Night (1933)
You dream every night is a Japanese silent drama film directed by Mikio Naruse in 1933. It tells the story of a single mother, Omitsu, who works as a hostess in a café to support her young son, Fumio. When Omitsu’s husband Mizuhara returns after years of absence, he promises to change his life and become a better husband and father. However, Mizuhara is unable to find a stable job and soon falls back into his old ways. As a result, Omitsu is forced to work even harder to support her family.
The film is a powerful and moving depiction of the plight of single mothers in Depression-era Japan. It is also a sensitive exploration of the complex relationships between mothers and children. You Dream Every Night is a well-made and beautifully shot film, and is considered one of Naruse’s best works.
Story of Floating Herbs (1934)
A Story of Floating Herbs (浮草物語 Ukikusa monogatari) is a 1934 film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. The same director made a remake in 1959 entitled Floating Grasses.
The film tells the story of Kihachi (Takeshi Sakamoto), a theater troupe head comedian who travels to a fishing village with his troupe. In the village, Kihachi meets Oyoshi (Choko Iida), a woman who had a son by him in the past and who believes him to be her uncle. Kihachi and Oyoshi fall in love again and decide to get married. However, the marriage is not accepted by Oyoshi’s family, who are humiliated that their daughter is marrying an actor. Oyoshi is then forced to leave the village with Kihachi and her theater troupe.
The film is a classic of Japanese cinema and is considered one of Ozu’s best films. The story is simple but moving, and the film is shot in a minimalist style that reflects Ozu’s philosophy of life. A Story of Floating Herbs is a film about love, loss and the meaning of family. It is a film that has something to say to everyone, and which continues to be appreciated by audiences and critics today.
An Inn in Tokyo (1935)
An Inn in Tokyo (東京の宿, Tōkyō no yado) is a 1935 silent film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. The film is Ozu’s last silent film and was praised for its realistic depiction of the life of an unemployed man and his children.
The story follows the life of Kihachi, an unemployed man who lives in Tokyo with his two sons, Akira and Hiroshi. Kihachi desperately tries to find a job, but to no avail. The family is forced to live in a small rented room and struggle to survive.
One day, Kihachi meets Otsune, a young woman who works as a waitress at an inn. Otsune takes care of Kihachi and her children, and the two fall in love. Kihachi finally finds a job, and the family is able to improve their economic situation.
An Inn in Tokyo is a moving and realistic film that offers an insight into the life of a Japanese family during the Great Depression.
The film was praised for its realistic depiction of the life of an unemployed man and his children. Ozu used a number of techniques to create a sense of realism, including using non-professional actors, choosing to shoot in real locations, and using simple, linear editing.
The film was also praised for its sensitivity and compassion. Ozu doesn’t judge his characters, but simply tries to show their daily life. The film is a touching portrait of the power of love and family, offering a message of hope in a time of crisis.
Wife! Be Like a Rose! (1935)
It’s a comedy movie Japanese 1935 directed by Mikio Naruse. It is based on the shinpa play Futari tsuma by Minoru Nakano and is also among Naruse’s first sound movies. It was one of the first Japanese movies to see a US release. The movie received the Kinema Junpo Award for best movie of the year in 1936 and also debuted in New York in 1937 with the title Kimiko. movie critics remarked on the movie’s “lively and modern feeling” and also “avant-garde aesthetic style” and “modern social perspectives”.
Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (1935)
“Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo” (Japanese: “Tange Sazen Yowa: Hyakuman Ryo no Tsubo”) is a 1935 Japanese film directed by Sadao Yamanaka. The film is a film adaptation of an 18th century Japanese novel written by Kyokutei Bakin.
The plot of the film follows the adventures of Sazen Tange, a skilled one-handed swordsman, as he searches for an ancient Japanese vase worth a million ryo. In the course of his quest, Sazen meets various eccentric characters and clashes with numerous enemies, engaging in spectacular duels.
The film is considered a classic of Japanese cinema and has influenced many subsequent directors. In particular, the character of Sazen Tange has become an icon of Japanese popular culture and has inspired many films and television works.
Sadly, director Sadao Yamanaka died a few years after the film’s release during World War II, making “Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo” one of his last works. However, his influence in Japanese cinema is still very strong and the film remains a work much loved by critics and audiences.
Sisters of Gion (1936)
It’s a drama movie Japanese black and white 1936 directed by Kenji Mizoguchi about 2 geishas living in the Gion area of Kyoto. It creates a diptych with Mizoguchi’s Osaka Elegy that shares many of the same actors and production team. 2 geishas, Umekichi and Omocha, live in their halfway house in the Gion area of Kyoto. Both women have wildly different expectations of men. Umekichi, the older sister, has undergone classic geisha training and uses a bathrobe, as well as feeling a solid sense of commitment to her client. Umekichi’s younger sister Omocha was educated in public schools and also wears Western clothing, except when working as a geisha. Unlike Umekichi, Omocha doesn’t rely on men and thinks they will only use geishas and then leave them without treatment. Therefore, use customers to your advantage.
Osaka Elegy (1936)
It is a 1936 Japanese drama movie directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. Sonosuke Asai, head of Asai Drug Company, has a miserable marital relationship with his wife Sumiko. As he treats the employees with contempt, Sumiko tells him that he owes his place to his family members that he is married to. He makes advances to one of his staff girls, Ayako, but she rejects him.
Humanity and Paper Balloons( 1937)
It is a 1937 Japanese movie directed by Sadao Yamanaka. It was Yamanaka’s last movie before his death. The movie is set in feudal Japan throughout the 18th century, a period known as the Edo. It portrays the battles and also the plans of Matajuro Unno, a rōnin, or masterless samurai, and of his neighbor Shinza, a beautician. The story begins in a slum where families perform routine tasks. Shinza, though a hairdresser by trade, actually makes a living running illegal gambling areas and pawning his valuables as well. Unno, who flirts with his wife next door, is the son of Matabei Unno, a samurai. Given his father’s death, Unno has been having a hard time finding work and really hopes that Mouri, his father’s former master, will hire him after reading a letter from his father. Mouri stays away from Unno and also discovers reasons not to read her father’s letter. Unno searches for Mouri every day and follows him wherever he goes. Mouri attempts to do away with Unno by sending a band of men to discourage him and informing his guards at the entrance to keep him out.
Yamanaka is among the best directors of jidaigeki movies, and this is his finest work. The movie tells the feudal period and offers a severe review of the political and social problems of the moment in which it was made. It is considered among the must-see movie.
The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939)
It is a 1939 Japanese drama movie directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. Based on a short story by Shōfu Muramatsu, it tells of an onnagata, a male actor skilled at playing women’s roles, who is having difficulty in late 19th-century Japan. Kikunosuke Onoe, commonly called Kiku, is the entourage son of a well-known Tokyo kabuki actress, who is studying for his father to prosper. While they self-righteously praise Onoe’s acting, the rest of his father’s artists ridicule him behind his back. Otoku is the only one honest enough to acknowledge her imperfections and improve upon herself. When Otoku is ignored by Kiku’s family members for being too close to the young master, Kiku tracks her down and tells her he wishes to marry her. His family is annoyed and Kiku has to leave Tokyo, take the train to Nagoya, hone his craft away from his father, much to the latter’s anger.
The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya (1942)
It’s a war movie Japanese black and white 1942 directed by Kajiro Yamamoto. The movie was watched by 100 million people in Japan. It’s a movie chronicling the events of Pearl Harbor. movie critics of the time considered it the best movie of 1942. The movie was seized by the Supreme Command of the Allied Powers after the battle, which misinterpreted it as an actual movie document of the assault.
Sanshiro Sugata (1943)
It is a 1943 Japanese martial arts movie, directorial launch of the Japanese movie director Akira Kurosawa. The movie is based on the story of the same name written by Tsuneo Tomita, the son of popular judoka Tsunejiro Tomita. It tells the story of Sanshiro, a young man who takes a trip to the city to discover Jujutsu. Upon his arrival he discovers a new type of self-defense: judo. The main character is based on Saigō Shirō. The movie is an early example of Kurosawa’s style of moviemaking, and possesses many of his hallmark directorial traits. The movie was quite popular at the time. It spawned a sequel, Sanshiro Sugata Part II, launched in 1945 and also directed by Kurosawa.
No Regrets for Our Youth (1946)
It is a 1946 Japanese movie written and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is based on the 1933 Takigawa event. The movie stars Setsuko Hara, Susumu Fujita, Takashi Shimura and Denjirō Ōkōchi. Fujita’s character was influenced by the real-life Hotsumi Ozaki, who aided popular Soviet spy Richard Sorge, so he ended up being the only Japanese resident to suffer the death sentence for treason during WWII. The movie is in black and white and lasts 110 minutes. The story begins in 1933. Students of Kyoto Imperial University oppose the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. The teacher’s daughter Yukie (Setsuko Hara) dates 2 of her father’s students: Ryukichi Noge (Susumu Fujita) and Itokawa (Akitake Kôno). Itokawa is modest and level-headed while Noge is passionate and far-left. Yukie is eventually attracted to Noge.
The Ball at the Anjo House (1947)
It is a 1947 Japanese movie directed by Kozaburō Yoshimura. The movie won the 1947 Kinema Junpo Award for Best movie. After Japan’s defeat in the Pacific War, the wealthy Anjō family must give up their property and change their way of life following the post-war agricultural reform. While widowed dad Tadahiko grieves over his social status, while son Masahiko and his older brother ridicule their former lower-class lovers who have lapsed, young Atsuko accepts the situation and seeks her personal position in the new Japan .
The Drunken Angel (1948)
It is a 1948 Japanese movie directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is notable for being the first of sixteen movie collaborations between Kurosawa and star Toshiro Mifune. Sanada (Takashi Shimura) is an alcoholic doctor in postwar Japan who tends to a small yakuza named Matsunaga (Toshiro Mifune) after a gunfight with a rival organization. The doctor, seeing that Matsunaga was coughing, diagnosed him with tuberculosis. After frequently nagging Matsunaga, who refuses to have his illness treated, about the obligation to start taking care of himself, the mobster finally agrees to stop hooking and getting drunk, and also allows Sanada to take care of himself. him, until Matsunaga’s brother Okada, who is also the abusive ex-boyfriend of the doctor’s female assistant Miyo, is released from prison.
Blue Mountain Range (1949)
It is a 1949 black and white Japanese movie directed by Tadashi Imai. It is based on the book of the same name by Yōjirō Ishizaka, first published in serial form in 1947. The instructor Yukiko, who has been transferred from Tokyo, turns out to be against the conformist professors and citizens.
Stray Dog (1949)
It’s aJapanese noir film from 1949 directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. It is considered among the first Japanese movies in the crime genre, a story that chronicles the state of mind of Japan during its harrowing post-war recovery. The movie is also considered to be a forerunner of the modern 2 buddy cop crime drama, based on its ease of combining two cops with various characters and mutual inspirations in a tough situation. Soundtrack (Fumio Hayasaka), In 2009 the movie was elected number 10 in the list of the greatest Japanese movies of all time by the Japanese movie publication Kinema Junpo.
Late Spring (1949)
It is a 1949 Japanese movie directed by Yasujirō Ozu and written by Ozu and Kogo Noda, based on the original short novel Father and Daughter by 20th century writer and movie critic Kazuo Hirotsu. The movie was released during the occupation of Japan by the Allied Powers and passed the occupation’s major censorship demands. Starring Chishū Ryū, who has been featured in most of the director’s movies, as well as Setsuko Hara, it is the opening movie in Ozu’s “Noriko trilogy”, which follows with Early Summer (1951) and Tokyo Story (Tokyo 1953) . In each of these movies Hara plays a girl named Noriko, single women in post-war Japan.
The movie derives from the type of Japanese cinema called shomin-geki, a category that chronicles the daily life and middle-class individuals of modern times. The movie is regarded as the first work in the director’s last innovative period, in the 1960s and 1950s. These movies are characterized by a particular attention to family stories in Japan’s immediate post-war period, by a penchant for directing very simple stories and the use of a fixed shot without movement.
It’s a thriller movie Jidaigeki from 1950 directed by Akira Kurosawa, who works closely with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa. Starring Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyō, Masayuki Mori and Takashi Shimura as different characters telling how a samurai was killed in a wood, the story and characters are based on Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s short story “In a Grove”, with the title and the story based on “Rashōmon”, another tale by Akutagawa. Every element is the same, from the slain samurai speaking through a Shinto psychic to the outlaw in the woods, the monk, and the deceptive retelling of events where each person reveals who they are.
The movie is recognized for a narrative mechanism involving numerous characters who provide subjective, incoherent and alternative versions of the exact same event. Rashomon was the first Japanese movie to have a major role worldwide; it won the Golden Lion at the Venice movie Festival in 1951, received an Academy Honorary Award at the 24th Academy Awards in 1952, and is also considered among the best movies ever made.
Listen To the Voices of the Sea (1950)
It is a 1950 Japanese anti-war movie directed by Hideo Sekigawa. It is based on the highly successful 1949 publication Hear Voices from the Sea, a collection of letters from Japanese soldiers killed during World War II. The first post-war Japanese movie to include fight scenes, it was also a major box office success in Japanese cinemas.
Akatsuki no Dassō (1950)
It is a 1950 Japanese movie centered around a terrible event between a soldier associated with the Manchurian project and a prostitute. Mikami, a Japanese soldier fighting in China, is in trouble. He manages to escape but is bullied by his peers. After falling in love with a prostitute named Harumi, she convinces him to move in together and leave the army.
Until We Meet Again (1950)
It is a 1950 Japanese anti-war movie directed by Tadashi Imai. It is based on the novel Pierre et Luce by Romain Rolland. The movie stars Eiji Okada as Tajima Saburo and Yoshiko Kuga as Ono Keiko. Tajima Saburo is a pacifist and amateur poet in World War II Japan, a quality that triggers conflicts between him and his family. His older brother, Ichiro, was killed in the war leaving his wife, Masako, who currently looks after the Tajima family members. His other older brother, Jiro, has already done the same to join the war much to Saburo’s discouragement. This leaves Saburo an outcast in the family as Jiro and his father reveal their dissatisfaction with his lack of nationalism. During a hectic bomb drill, Saburo finds a woman in the shrine, Ono Keiko, and shields her from the shelling sounds from outside. Their hands touch and Keiko is also forever imprinted in Saburo’s mind. When the shrine is removed, Saburo misplaces Keiko and chooses to go home.
Carmen Comes Home (1951)
It’s a funny movie 1951 Japanese movie directed by Keisuke Kinoshita. Due to the renovation of the Tokyo office where she works, artist Carmen and her sweetheart friend Maya pay a visit to her small hometown of Nagano. Carmen’s dad has never allowed her to leave the family and wants to keep her. Many citizens marvel and are excited about the city’s great celebrity. In the end, Carmen’s art is a strip dance show that she will perform in a show by local tycoon Maruju.
Wheat Harvest Time (1951)
Noriko, a secretary from Tokyo, resides in Kamakura with her family along with her parents Shūkichi and Shige, her older brother Kōichi, a doctor, his wife Fumiko, and their 2 boys Minoru and Isamu. Noriko’s friends are divided into 2 groups, the married and the singles, who constantly tease each other, with Aya Tamura being her close ally in the singles group. Gorgeous drama about family unity which is part of Ozu’s thematic trilogy which is referred to as The Noriko Trilogy: Late Spring, Wheat Harvest Time and Journey to Tokyo.
It is a 1951 Japanese movie directed by Mikio Naruse and played by Setsuko Hara. It is based on the unfinished and also the last novel by Fumiko Hayashi, and was also the beginning of a series of adaptations of her work by the director.
Michiyo moved from Tokyo to settle in Osaka with her clerk husband, whom she married against her parents’ wishes. A couple of years later, during the marital relationship, her husband treats her inconsiderately and she is gradually worn down by the domestic routine. The situation worsens when his beautiful niece, running away from her mother and father’s preparations for an forced marriage, seduces her husband. Disappointed with her initiatives to improve their family life, she tells her niece Tokyo to stay with her family members temporarily.
The Children of Hiroshima (1952)
Takako Ishikawa is a schoolteacher off the coast of Hiroshima and hasn’t returned to her atomic bomb-stricken city in 4 years. His journey to Hiroshima becomes a journey to his destroyed homeland, in search of old surviving friends. The city has almost been rebuilt, but the tragedy is still very present: the disfigured faces, the shriveled limbs, the barren women and the handicapped children without mirth.
movie shot with sobriety, shows the tragedy of the bomb only in a brief flashback from the protagonist in a few seconds of hallucinatory images. However, the short scene always remains present in her mind as well as in the mind of the spectator. The tone of Kaneto Shindo it is not that of a historical account but that of an intense and restrained lyrical emotion, which seeks its essence in the details. In the sky, finally, a plane passes: the teacher’s eyes are filled with anguish, the child’s are only pure and curious.
Japan, late 16th century: the potter Genjurō and his brother Tobei live with their wives Miyagi and Ohama in a village in the Omi region; Genjurō, convinced that he can earn a lot of money by selling his goods in the nearby city, travels to Omizo county together with Tobei, who joins him with the sole purpose of being able to become a samurai. Legend and innovation of cinematic language, a wonderful world next to a brutal and cruel world. Mystery movie that opens a conversation with the invisible planes of existence, ghosts and incursions into the fantastic, made by Kenji Mizoguchi in a Japan still frozen by the two atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Tokyo Story (1953)
It is a 1953 Japanese movie directed by Yasujirō Ozu and starring Chishū Ryū and Chieko Higashiyama about an elderly couple who take a trip to Tokyo to see their grown children. Upon release, it did not gain worldwide recognition and was considered of little value to Japanese movie distributors. It was shown in 1957 in London, where it won the inaugural Sutherland Trophy the following year, and won praise from US movie critics following a 1972 screening in New York City.
Tokyo Story is commonly regarded as Ozu’s artwork, as well as among the best movies ever made. It was voted the best movie of all time in the 2012 version of a widely considered poll by movie directors from Sight & Sound publication.
Gate of Hell (1953)
It is a 1953 Japanese movie directed by Teinosuke Kinugasa. It tells the story of a samurai (Kazuo Hasegawa) who falls madly in love with a woman (Machiko Kyō) whom he rescues, only to find she is currently married. Shot using Eastmancolor, it was Daiei movie’s very first color movie and also the first Japanese color movie to be released outside Japan. Probably the key to its success is the way it mixes an underlying passion of feelings with the spectacular scenes of physical reality. The tension and human miseries implode behind a magnificent photography and aesthetic rigor. The extreme importance of the old Japanese society is concretely depicted in this movie.
Where Chimneys Are Seen (1953)
It is a 1953 Japanese comedy-drama movie directed by Heinosuke Gosho. He participated in the 3rd Berlin International movie Festival. Based on a novel by Rinzō Shiina, Where Chimneys Are Seen is considered one of Gosho’s pivotal movies, as well as a prime example of the shomin-geki style.
Hiroko Ogata and her second husband Ryukichi (her first husband Tsukahara is thought to have died in battle during WWII) also remain within the lower-class confines of Tokyo. The top floor of the Ogata level is rented to Kenzo and Senko, a boy and a woman who discover a passion for each other, but are not yet a couple. One day, the Ogatas discover a little boy in the hall of their house with a letter signed by Tsukahara, specifying that he was Hiroko’s son. The marital relationship is engulfed in a dilemma, with Hiroko doomed to self-destruction. Kenzo wanders the city looking for Tsukahara and eventually discovers him and his new wife, the real mother of the abandoned child, who originally wanted to kill him.
Eagle of the Pacific (1953)
It’s a epic movie of Japanese War of 1953 directed by Ishirō Honda. The movie chronicles the beginning of Japan’s military action in World War II, with a focus on the role of Isoroku Yamamoto. The movie earned 163 million yen, the third highest total amount for a Japanese movie in 1953.
It is a 1954 Japanese movie directed and co-written by Ishirō Honda, with special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. Produced and distributed by Toho Co., Ltd., it is the first movie in the Godzilla franchise. The movie stars Akira Takarada, Momoko Kōchi, Akihiko Hirata and Takashi Shimura, with Haruo Nakajima and Katsumi Tezuka as Godzilla.
In the movie, the Japanese authorities must battle a massive monster, whose assaults cause concerns of nuclear holocaust across postwar Japan. Godzilla entered production after a Japanese-Indonesian co-production fell through. Tsuburaya originally suggested a giant octopus before the moviemakers settled on a dinosaur-inspired animal. Shooting for the movie took 51 days, and creating the special effects took 71 days.
Twenty-Four Eyes (1954)
It is a 1954 Japanese movie directed by Keisuke Kinoshita, based on the 1952 book of the same name by Sakae Tsuboi. The movie stars Hideko Takamine as a teacher called Hisako Ōishi, who lives during Japanese nationalism in the early Shōwa era.
The story begins in 1928 with the excellence of the teacher’s pupils and follows it to 1946. Twenty-Four Eyes was launched in Japan by Shochiku on September 15, 1954, where it achieved generally favorable reviews as well as commercial success. The movie garnered a number of accolades, including the Kinema Junpo “Best One” Award for 1954, along with the Henrietta Award at the 5th Annual World movie Favorite Festival. The movie was remembered for its anti-war vision.
7 Samurai (1954)
It’s a japanese samurai movie 1954 co-written, edited and directed by Akira Kurosawa. The tale occurs in 1586 for the duration of Japan’s Sengoku period. It tells the story of a town of hopeless farmers who employ 7 rōnin, masterless samurai, to deal with outlaws who come to steal their crops.
At the time, the movie was one of the most expensive movies made in Japan. It took a year to shoot on the set and the movie also faced several problems. It was the second highest-grossing movie in Japan in 1954. Numerous reviews have compared the movie to Westerns. Since its release, Seven Samurai has consistently placed on critics’ lists of the best movies in the history of cinema. Its impact on the motion picture industry was truly unparalleled, and it is commonly regarded today as one of the most “re-shot, remade, and referenced” movies.
Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
It’s a Historical movie Japanese 1954 directed by Kenji Mizoguchi. Based on a 1915 short story of the same name by Mori Ōgai, which itself was based on a folk tale, it features two children who are enslaved. Sansho the Bailiff brings to life a number of Mizoguchi’s features, such as depictions of hardship and long takes elaborately choreographed by cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa, Mizoguchi’s regular collaborator. Today, the movie is commonly regarded alongside Ugetsu (1953) as one of Mizoguchi’s best works.
Crazed Fruit (1956)
It is a 1956 Japanese Sun Tribe film directed by Kō Nakahira. It is an adaptation of the book of the same name by Shintaro Ishihara, the older brother of the participating actors Yujiro Ishihara, and deals with 2 brothers who fall in love with the same woman and also the resulting conflict. Due to its portrayal of Japanese youth, the film caused controversy upon release. It was later called a seminal work of the Sun Tribe category.Nouvelle Vague
The sweet life of the rich young Japanese of the Sun Tribe subculture which was inspired by the western lifestyle in the late 50s, between lust and violence, water skiing and speedboats. A story of love, passion and betrayal. A masterpiece almost unknown in the West, it caused a scandal at the time of its release. It is the movie that paves the way and inspires the Japanese Nouvelle Vague.
The Burmese Harp (1956)
It is a 1956 Japanese movie directed by Kon Ichikawa. Based on the children’s book of the same name written by Michio Takeyama, it tells the story of Japanese soldiers who faced the Burma campaign during World War II. One squad member is lost after the battle, and the soldiers plan to find out if their comrade survived and if he has become a Buddhist monk whom they see playing a harp. The movie was among the first to reveal the losses of the war from the point of view of a Japanese soldier. The movie was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language movie of 1956. In 1985, Ichikawa remade The Burmese Harp with a new actor, and the remake was also a big box-office hit, becoming the first movie Japanese in 1985 and also the second Japanese grosser up to that time.
Rickshaw Man (1958)
It is a 1958 Japanese movie directed by Hiroshi Inagaki. It is a remake of his 1943 movie. In the 1943 version Tsumasaburo Bando played the role of Muhōmatsu. Set in the 1940s and 1930s, it tells the story of Muhōmatsu, a rickshaw boy played by Toshiro Mifune, who becomes a stepfather to the son of a recently widowed woman played by Hideko Takamine.
It is a 1958 Japanese movie directed by Kon Ichikawa and adapted from Yukio Mishima’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Enjō chronicles the emotional breakdown of Goichi (Raizo Ichikawa), a young Buddhist who travels to a sacred place in Kyoto – the Golden Pavilion – for a refresher course.
Goichi is obsessed with 2 things: exploring his mentally abusive mother’s adultery, and his father, who suddenly falls ill. Idealistic and shy, as well as afflicted with a stuttering problem, Goichi arrives at the sacred place obsessed with his late father’s opinion that “the golden pavilion of Shukaku temple is one of the most beautiful spots in the world”.
Fires on the Plain (1959)
It is a 1959 Japanese war movie directed by Kon Ichikawa, starring Eiji Funakoshi. The screenplay of the movie, created by Natto Wada, is based on the novel Nobi (Tokyo 1951) by Shōhei Ōoka, translated in Fires on the Plain. It initially gained mixed reviews from both international and Japanese critics for its violence and dark style. Over the years, however, it has become highly regarded. The movie tells of a tubercular Japanese man and his struggle to survive during the latter part of World War II. Kon Ichikawa approached the themes of survival movie and the kind of warfare.
Good Morning (1959)
It is a 1959 Japanese comedy movie written and directed by Yasujirō Ozu. It is a remake of his 1932 silent movie I Was Born, But…, and is also Ozu’s second movie in color. The movie takes place in the province of Tokyo and begins with a group of young students returning home.
The movie has a subplot that tells the habits of women in a neighborhood club. They talk to each other about the theft of money, and also imagine that Ms. Haraguchi may have used the money to buy new cleaning equipment for herself. Ms. Haraguchi challenges Ms. Hayashi for ruining her reputation, but Ms. Hayashi specifies that she handed over the money to Haraguchi’s mother. Later Ms. Haraguchi understands that it was her mistake and will most likely apologize.
Floating Weeds (1959)
It is a 1959 Japanese movie directed by Yasujirō Ozu, with Nakamura Ganjirō II and Machiko Kyō. It is a remake of Ozu’s black-and-white silent movie A Story of Floating Weeds (1934) and is considered one of the best movies ever made.
During the summer of 1958 in a Japanese seaside resort, a group of traveling theater artists arrive by ship, led by the protagonist and director of artists, Komajuro. While the rest of the performers roam the town promoting their show, Komajuro sees his ex-girlfriend, Oyoshi, who runs a small restaurant in the community. They have an adult son, Kiyoshi, who works at the post office and is studying at the university. She doesn’t know it’s Komajuro and believes it’s her uncle. Komajuro invites Kiyoshi to go fishing.
The Human Condition (1959 – 1961)
It is a series of 3 Japanese war movies directed by Masaki Kobayashi, based on the book of the same name created by Junpei Gomikawa. The movies are No Greater Love (1959), Road to Eternity (1959), and A Soldier’s Prayer (1961). The trilogy chronicles the life of Kaji, a socialist Japanese pacifist, as he attempts to survive in the overbearing, totalitarian world of WWII-era Japan. The Human Condition chronicles the journey of sympathetic but naïve Kaji as he goes from being a manager to a soldier in the Imperial Army and at one point a Soviet prisoner of war. Regularly attempting to rise above a corrupt system, Kaji repeatedly singles out his ideals as a hindrance rather than an asset.
The Naked Island (1960)
Husband and wife live with their children on a wild island where conditions for survival are very difficult. The hard work in the fields, the monotony of the days and the mourning for the death of one of their children make their life difficult. From time to time they have to move from their small island to get food and water on the larger islands. The man and the woman try to continue cultivating their land and fight resignation in the face of life’s adversities.
A brave movie by Kanedo Shindo which relies exclusively on narration to music and noises. The movie won the Grand Prize at the Moscow International movie Festival and enjoyed great success with audiences both in Japan and abroad.
When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)
It is a 1960 Japanese movie directed by Mikio Naruse. Keiko, a young widow close to 30, is a person who works in a bar in Ginza. Realizing that she is getting old, she decides after speaking with her bar owner, Komatsu, that she wishes to open her own bar instead of remarrying and dishonoring her late hubby whose memory she is still attached to. To achieve this, he should have some loans from some high-level customers who frequent his bar, but the matter does not seem easy.
Cruel Story of Youth (1960)
It is a 1960 Japanese movie directed by Nagisa Ōshima, starring Yusuke Kawazu and also Miyuki Kuwano as transgressive and passionate teenagers. It is Ōshima’s second feature movie and is known for its aspects of Japanese nuberu bagu. The movie won the 1960 Blue Ribbon Awards for Best Newcomer for Ōshima.
After Makoto Shinjo asks a stranger for a ride, the driver of the vehicle attempts to harass her, but is joined by Kiyoshi Fuji. He takes her on a ride with him, initially to enjoy Anpo’s protests against the US-Japan Security Treaty, and later to ride a speedboat on a river, where he rapes her. One day, after trying to wait for him in a bar he visits often, she is targeted by the mafia who run prostitution, but Kiyoshi opposes them and frees them in exchange for a sum of money. The two fall in love and Makoto spends more time with him. To earn money Makoto lures a motorist and Kiyoshi who catches him.
Night and Fog in Japan (1960)
It is a 1960 Japanese movie directed by Nagisa Ōshima. It is an extremely political and social movie. In 1960, following Anpo’s protests against the US-Japan Security Treaty, unwanted visitors disturb the marriage between Nozawa, a journalist and 1950s radical, and Reiko, a lobbyist. They accuse the couple and for having neglected their political actions, evoking a series of unresolved controversies from years before, in the student sphere. The allegations reopen old wounds about Nozawa’s experiences in both the 1950s and 1960s.
2 characters, one who died by suicide, the other a Stalinist political leader, are the subject of increased attention. The memory of Takao, a young student who committed suicide after letting a “spy” totally free, is reconstructed as acc7sa to the tyrannical management of Zengakuren in 1950.
It is a 1961 Japanese movie co-written, written, edited and directed by Akira KurosawaIl movie interpretato da Toshiro Mifune, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yoko Tsukasa, Isuzu Yamada, Daisuke Katō, Takashi Shimura, Kamatari Fujiwara e Atsushi Watanabe.
In the movie, a rōnin comes to a village where there are contending crime bosses. Both bosses each attempt to hire the rookie as a bodyguard. Based on the success of Yojimbo, Kurosawa’s next movie, Sanjuro (1962), became the main protagonist of this movie.
The movie was released and produced by Toho on April 25, 1961. Yojimbo received highly favorable reviews and, over the years, has been commonly regarded as one of Kurosawa’s best movies, and also one of the best movies ever made. The movie earned around $2.5 million worldwide on a ¥90.87 million spending plan. It was unofficially movieed by Sergio Leone as the Spaghetti Western A Fistful of Dollars (1964), which prompted a lawsuit by Toho for plagiarism. .
An Autumn Afternoon (1962)
It is a 1962 Japanese movie directed by Yasujirō Ozu for Shochiku movies. It stars Chishū Ryū as the patriarch of the Hirayama family who at one point realizes that he has the task of preparing a conjugal relationship for his baby girl Michiko (Shima Iwashita). It was Ozu’s last movie; he died the following year on the day he turned 60. Today, An Autumn Afternoon is considered by many to be one of Ozu’s best works.
Tokyo, 1962. Shūhei Hirayama (Chishū Ryū) is an elderly widower with a 32-year-old married son, Kōichi (Keiji Sada), as well as 2 young single children, 24-year-old Michiko (Shima Iwashita) and 21-year-old boy years Kazuo (Shin’ichirō Mikami). The young people’s age and also what they remember of their mother suggests that she died before the end of the war, probably at the Battle of Tokyo in 1944-45.
She and He (1963)
It is a 1963 Japanese movie directed by Susumu Hani. It became a part of the 14th Berlin International movie Festival where Sachiko Hidari won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. A middle-class Tokyo woman, Naoko Ishikawa (Sachiko Hidari) lives with her husband in an apartment on a hill near a run-down neighborhood. As her husband Eiichi (Eiji Okada) becomes busier with his life as an entrepreneur, Naoko looks for ways to broaden her life and loved ones. When he understands the difficulties in the neighborhood, he loses his sense of safety and security. She finds herself strangely drawn to a rag picker, Ikona (Kikuji Yamashita) who lives in a tin shack with a blind child and a dog, and the protective comforts of her middle-class life fade away.
The Insect Woman (1963)
It is a 1963 Japanese movie directed by Shōhei Imamura. She attended the 14th Berlin International movie Festival where Sachiko Hidari won the Silver Bear for Best Actress. Various movie awards were also granted nationwide. The movie tells of Tome, a girl born in 1918 into a lower-class family in the Tōhoku countryside, who, after a long series of problems, becomes a prostitute after the war. When punished with prison, her daughter Nobuko becomes the mistress of her pimp, but later takes his money to use to build an agricultural district.
Bushido, Samurai Saga (1963)
It is a 1963 Japanese movie and jidaigeki movie directed by Tadashi Imai. It entered the 13th Berlin International movie Festival where it won the Golden Bear. The tale covers 7 generations of one family, from the beginning of the Tokugawa shogunate to the very early 1960s, and also the extremes its participants gain from unflinching commitment to company, nation and those in power, at the expense of their life and that of their loved ones. Susumu, the last of the male successors, eventually chooses to side against this mentality after his future wife’s suicide attempt.
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
It is a 1964 Japanese New Wave movie directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, with Eiji Okada as an entomologist looking for insects and Kyōko Kishida as the titular woman. It garnered favorable reviews and was shortlisted for two Academy Awards. The screenplay of the movie was adapted by Kōbō Abe from his 1962 book. The movie is a haunting allegory of human life and the need to get away from collective life. Nathaniel Thompson created “the songs here are almost a character of their own, creeping into the movie material imperceptibly, like sand.
It’s a movie japanese horror a 1964 episodes directed by Masaki Kobayashi. It is based on stories from Lafcadio Hearn’s collections of Japanese folk tales, called Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904), after which it is named. The movie includes 4 unrelated and very different short stories. Kwaidan is an old-fashioned transliteration of the term kaidan, suggesting a ghost story. The movie won the Special Jury Prize at the 1965 Cannes movie Festival, and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language movie. In Japan, the movie earned Yoko Mizuki the Kinema Junpo for Best Screenplay. Color in the movie is used very expressively and the stories stay with you long after you see it. “Kwaidan” is a harmony of colors and sounds with a rigorous editing rhythm and extreme sensations, an aesthetically remarkable tour de force.
The aesthetic component of the cinema of Kaneto Shindo it is evident in Onibaba, horror movie which tells the story of two women left to their own devices who live by robbing and killing disbanded Samurai.
Inspired by an ancient fairy tale Buddhist the movie tells the story of two women who live in extreme poverty, in a hut on the bank of a river. They survive by killing and robbing battle-weary samurai, using techniques they’ve honed over time.
One day a neighbor, Hachi, informs the two women that the son of one of them, who went to war, is dead. The man also proposes to help them in their thefts and their murders. But women don’t trust and refuse. But over time one of the two will slowly fall in love with Hachi. One night the woman kills a powerful knight with a disturbing mask with one of the traps tested. But when she takes off his mask, she discovers that the inhuman traits of a terrifying demon are behind it.
Tokyo Olympiad (1965)
It’s a documentary Japanese 1965 directed by Kon Ichikawa recording the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Like Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia, which taped the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Ichikawa’s movie was considered a cinematic turning point in docudrama production. The movie keeps much more emphasis on the atmosphere of the games and the human side of professional athletes instead of focusing on victory and achievements. It is among the sports docu-dramas included in the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die guide. The movie is held in high regard and is also seen, together with Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia, as one of the best movies about the Olympics and, certainly, as one of the best sports docudramas ever. His focus on the humanity of spectators and professional athletes, revealing the effort, the amusement, the bliss of triumph and even the frustration of loss, as opposed to simply recording the results, was seen as extremely interesting, and using zoom lenses and close-ups has created a new requirement for sports movies.
Branded to Kill (1967)
It is a 1967 Japanese movie directed by Seijun Suzuki and starring Joe Shishido, Koji Nanbara, Annu Mari and also Mariko Ogawa. The story tells of professional assassin Goro Hanada as he is hired by a strange woman named Misako for a difficult target. When the objective fails, he is pursued by the number one killer ghost, whose attacks endanger his life and his peace of mind.
The movie was marked by its production company, Nikkatsu, as a B movie low budget. Disappointed with the initial script, the production approached Suzuki to review and direct the movie shortly before production began. Suzuki thought up most of his ideas for the movie the night before or during the recording, and also asked his colleagues for suggestions; The movie’s screenplay is credited to Hachiro Guryu, a writing team that included Suzuki and 7 other writers, including his regular partners Takeo Kimura and Atsushi Yamatoya. Suzuki gave the movie a grotesque, aesthetically variegated and anarchic tone, contrary to what the production company wanted. Post-production was finished just one day before its scheduled June 15, 1967 launch.
Portrait of Chieko (1967)
It is a 1967 Japanese movie directed by Noboru Nakamura. It is based both on the collection of verses Chieko-shō by Japanese poet and artist Kōtarō Takamura, which is reminiscent of his wife Chieko, and on the novel Shōsetsu Chieko-shō by Haruo Satō. The movie was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best International Feature. It is a gorgeous Japanese movie in which Shima Iwashita gives a carefully controlled performance, capturing every subtlety of the character with deft acting skills.
Death by Hanging (1968)
It is a 1968 Japanese movie directed by Nagisa Ōshima, starring Do-yun Yu. He is known for his ingenious Brechtian strategies and themes of guilt as well as awareness, justice and oppression of ethnic Koreans in Japan.
The movie has a documentary-like opening which features a death room in which an execution will take place. Inexplicably, the man to be killed, an ethnic Korean known as R, is hanged but survives and loses his memory. Authorities witnessing the hanging debate how to continue, as the legislation could be used to limit the execution of a person who does not remember their crimes and sentence. They make a decision to encourage R to atone for his crimes, then the movie moves into a very theatrical setting.
The movie is funny, intriguing and focuses on the death sentence, and at one point becomes explicitly Godardian and Brechtian. The direction is extremely attentive and dedicated to the type of cinema that plays an active role in culture.
Other horror movie Shindo‘s particularly interesting is Kuroneko. In the Japanese Jidai-geki era, which begins in the 17th century, a terrible civil war is tearing apart the villages of the country. Two women living in a bamboo house are raped and killed by a group of ruthless samurai. Some time later, in the same area, some samurai are found bled to death. The governor sends a valiant samurai to investigate.
Kaneto Shindo he was an independent moviemaker with little inclination to compromise. Shindo perhaps excessively discounts the inability to choose between traditional models and those instead offered by the New Cinema wave of the 60s.
It is a 1970 Japanese movie directed by Akira Kurosawa. The movie stars Yoshitaka Zushi, Kin Sugai, Toshiyuki Tonomura and Shinsuke Minami. It is based on Shūgorō Yamamoto’s 1962 book A City Without Seasons and deals with a group of homeless people living in poverty on the outskirts of Tokyo. Dodes’ka-den was Kurosawa’s first movie in five years, his first starring Toshiro Mifune from Ikiru in 1952, and also his first movie without auteur Masaru Sato from Seven Samurai in 1954.
Recording began on April 23, 1970, and ended 28 days later. This was Kurosawa’s first color movie and he had a spending plan of just ¥100 million. To finance the movie, Kurosawa mortgaged his house, but the movie lost money, earning less than its budget, leaving him with huge financial debts and, at age sixty-one, virtually unemployed. Kurosawa’s dissatisfaction became unbearable a year later, on December 22, 1971, when he attempted suicide by cutting his wrists and neck with a razor.
Lady Snowblood (1973)
It is a 1973 Japanese movie directed by Toshiya Fujita and played by Meiko Kaji. Based on the manga series of the same name by Kazuo Koike and Kazuo Kamimura, the movie tells the story of Yuki (Kaji), a woman who seeks revenge on 3 people who raped and killed her mother, father and even brother. Along with Kaji, the actors in the movie are Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimonm, Miyoko Akaza and Kō Nishimura. Lady Snowblood was released in theaters in Japan on December 1, 1973 and was also distributed by Toho. It spawned a sequel, Love Song of Vengeance (1974). Lady Snowblood was a significant inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s 2003 movie Kill Bill.
Coup d’etat (1973)
It is a 1973 Japanese movie directed by Yoshishige Yoshida. It is based on the life of Ikki Kita. It was Japan’s representative at the 46th Academy Awards for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language movie, but was rejected as a candidate. The movie is an account of the attempted overthrow of the Japanese federal government by the military on February 26, 1936. It is based on the life of ultranationalist intellectual Ikki Kita.
Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973)
It is a Japanese yakuza movie series created by the Toei Company. Influenced by a collection of articles by journalist Kōichi Iiboshi based on memoirs by real-life yakuza Kōzō Minō, the movie chronicles the struggles of the yakuza in Hiroshima prefecture. They are five movies directed by Kinji Fukasaku and starring Bunta Sugawara as Shozo Hirono, based on Minō, made between 1973 and 1974, in the yakuza subgenre called Jitsuroku eiga, which is usually based on true stories. Fukasaku directed three more independent movies under the titles New Battles Without Honor and Humanity between 1974 and 1976. Three more movies by various directors were produced in 1979, 2000 and 2003.
Sandakan No. 8 (1974)
It is a 1974 Japanese movie directed by In Kumai, with Yoko Takahashi, Komaki Kurihara and Kinuyo Tanaka. It was nominated for the 1975 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language movie. It also became one of the highest-grossing Japanese movies at the Chinese box office, where it generated millions of ticket admissions. A young female journalist Keiko Mitani (Komaki Kurihara) is trying to write an article about Japanese women who were sex workers in Asian brothels in the early 20th century. He locates Osaki (Kinuyo Tanaka), an elderly woman who looks after cats in a shack in a remote town. Osaki agrees to tell his life story, and the narrative goes back in time and tells his story in the early 20s.
In the Realm of the Senses (1976)
It is a 1976 Japanese art movie written and directed by Nagisa Ōshima. It is a fictionalized story of a 1936 murder committed by Sada Abe. A co-production of France and Japan, the movie created a formidable debate upon its release. Though planned for a broad mainstream release, the movie has non-simulated sex scenes between the actors, Eiko Matsuda, Tatsuya Fuji, and others. All sexual taboos are overcome in this famous movie, an extreme and intriguing psychological and sex story.
The Yellow Handkerchief (1977)
It is a 1977 Japanese movie directed by Yoji Yamada. It was the winner of the Best movie award at the Japan Academy Prize. The movie was influenced by the American song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”, itself based on a collection of articles by journalist Pete Hamill for the New York Post in 1971. Kinya Hanada, falls in love with Nobuko, and he suddenly leaves the manufacturing facility where he works. With his retirement, he bought a bright red Mazda Familia and took a ferry alone to Hokkaido to recover from his broken heart.
Vengeance Is Mine (1979)
It is a 1979 Japanese movie directed by Shōhei Imamura, based on the book of the same name by Ryūzō Saki. It shows the true story of serial killer Akira Nishiguchi, transforming the main character’s name into Iwao Enokizu. With his offbeat story and shocking humor, Imamura uncovers a seedy backdrop of Japanese culture.” The movie is a cry of anguish and despondency in support of its outrageous hero, touching and terrible enough to merit comparison with Crime and Punishment.
It is a 1980 Japanese jidaigeki movie directed by Akira Kurosawa. It is set in Japan’s Sengoku era and tells the story of a lower-class delinquent who is tasked with replacing the dying daimyō Takeda Shingen to discourage opposing clans from striking his own clan. Kagemusha is the Japanese term for a political decoy, which has the meaning of a warrior who acts of darkness. The movie ends with the terrible battle of Nagashino in 1575. The movie won the Palme d’Or at the 1980 Cannes movie Festival. It was also shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language movie and received various other accolades. It is considered among the all-time great Japanese movies by the Japanese movie publication Kinema Junpo.
It’s a independent movie Japanese 1980 directed by Seijun Suzuki and also based on the novel by Hyakken Uchida, Disc of Sarasate. It takes its title from a gramophone recording of Pablo de Sarasate’s violin composition Zigeunerweisen, which fits neatly into the narrative. The movie forms the initial part of Suzuki’s Taishō Roman trilogy, followed by Kagero-za (1981) and also Yumeji (1991), modernist psychological drama and ghost stories related to the design and period of Taishō (1912-1926).
As cinema halls did not want to show the movie, producer Arato showed it himself in an inflatable mobile camping tent with great success. The movie won Honorable Mention at the 31st Berlin International movie Festival, was shortlisted for 9 Japanese Academy Awards and also won 4, including Best Director and Best movie, and was also elected Best movie Japanese movie of the 80s by Japanese movie critics.
It is a 1985 historical epic movie directed, edited and co-written by Akira Kurosawa. The story originates from William Shakespeare’s King Lear and also includes parts based on the tales of the daimyō Mōri Motonari. The movie stars Tatsuya Nakadai as Hidetora Ichimonji, an elderly warlord of the Sengoku period who decides to give up leadership for his 3 sons. Like most of Kurosawa’s works in the 1970s and 1980s, Ran is an international production, in this case a French-Japanese venture created by Herald Ace, Nippon Herald movies and Greenwich movie Productions.
The preparation for the production was very long. Kurosawa developed the story of Ran in the mid-1970s when he learned the story of Motonari, who was famous for having 3 very devoted sons. Kurosawa designed a story where the boys come into conflict with their father. The movie ended up being heavily inspired by Shakespeare’s play King Lear, Kurosawa started using it soon after starting prep work for Ran. Following this preparatory work, Kurosawa made other movies in the meantime, Dersu Uzala in 1975, followed by Kagemusha in the early 1980s, before arriving at the making of the movie Ran.