Japanese Cinema: an introduction

映画 – Eiga: Movie

The Japanese cinema or Nihon Eiga, has a very good reputation. Several movies scored worldwide and gained a lot of good reviews. But not only the popular kind of movies like Godzilla or the anime movies like Kimi No Na Wa are high rated. Also Japan has always produced a lot of movies with social-psychologic themes which are very highly appreciated by critics. In Belgium and the Netherlands there are two very nice Japanese filmfestivals: Japan Square and Camera Japan.


Highly recommended websites if you are interested in Japanese movies:

Midnighteye.com (no new items anymore, but a nice archive)

Psychocinematography.com

Japanese Film Database (Japan Foundation)

Kinema Club and KineJapan

Japon Cinema

Some typical Japanese movie genres:

  • Jidaigeki: historical movies (often Edo-period, samurai)
  • J-Horror
  • Tokusatsu /Kaiju: monster movies (Gojira e.g.)
  • Pink movies: erotic movies
  • Anime: Animated movies
  • Yakuza Eiga: Japanese maffia (Yakuza) movies

Famous Japanese directors and their famous movies:

  • Akira Kurosawa (Ran, 7 Samurai, Ikiru, …)
  • Yasujiro Ozu (Tokyo Monogatari)
  • Hayao Miyazaki (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi)
  • Nagisa Oshima (Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence)
  • Shohei Imamura (Kuroi Ame)
  • Takeshi Kitano (Zatoichi)
  • Osamu Tezuka (Jangaru Taitei)
  • Hirokazu Kore-Eda (Dare mo shiranai, Manbiki Kazoku)
  • Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Tokyo Sonata)
  • Hideo Nakata (Ringu)
  • Ishiro Honda (Godzilla)
  • Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira)

Famous Japanese actors/actresses:

Japanese soundtrack composers:

In the Mood for Love – Yumeji’s Theme – Shigeru Umebayashi

Japanese movie blogs:

Psychocinematography

J-FilmPowWow

Genkinahito

The Asian Cinema Blog

Japanese TV drama

Nowadays with the growth of streaming sites, a lot of Japanese TV drama are gaining popularity in the West. Most drama’s are based on manga series. Actors and actresses (Idols) of Japanese TV drama’s are very popular with the youth in Japan. Two of the most popular drama’s are:

Hana Yori Dango: a school ruled by the Flower Four (F4), Makino gets bullied after her friend spoiled juice on one of the F4 members…

Gokusen: Kumiko Yamaguchi, the granddaughter of a Yakuza boss is teacher in an all boys school. She tries to teach them ‘the lessons of life’…

Gokusen – Youtube

More Japanese drama: Jdorama.com