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Category: Japanese

Yojimbo (1961)

Yojimbo (1961)

A nameless ronin, or samurai with no master, enters a small village in feudal Japan where two rival businessmen are struggling for control of the local gambling trade. Taking the name Sanjuro Kuwabatake, the ronin convinces both silk merchant Tazaemon and sake merchant Tokuemon to hire him as a personal bodyguard, then artfully sets in motion a full-scale gang war between the two ambitious and unscrupulous men.

Sanjuro (1962)

Sanjuro (1962)

Toshiro Mifune swaggers and snarls to brilliant comic effect in Kurosawa’s tightly paced, beautifully composed “Sanjuro.” In this companion piece and sequel to “Yojimbo,” jaded samurai Sanjuro helps an idealistic group of young warriors weed out their clan’s evil influences, and in the process turns their image of a proper samurai on its ear.

Tekkonkinkreet (2006)

Tekkonkinkreet (2006)

When mysterious foreign entrepreneurs appear with the intention of tearing down Treasure Town and replacing it with an amusement park, Black and White face their greatest adversaries yet. It is up to the destructive Black to save the fate of the city and up to the gentle White to save Black from his own dark nature. On the street of an unnamed city, literally high-flying urchins Black and White look to protect their turf from invasion from other gangs. While he can be tough in a fight or wielding a weapon, White is an 11-year-old who can’t even dress himself. Slightly older, Black is more worldly and treats his buddy with paternal love. Both look on their city as “our town.” Also prone to seeing the city as his property is world-weary yakuza leader Suzuki, aka the Rat. Feeling the town has become too placid, Suzuki plots his return, much to the consternation of local police.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.

Throne of Blood (1957)

Throne of Blood (1957)

Returning to their lord’s castle, samurai warriors Washizu and Miki are waylaid by a spirit who predicts their futures. When the first part of the spirit’s prophecy comes true, Washizu’s scheming wife, Asaji, presses him to speed up the rest of the spirit’s prophecy by murdering his lord and usurping his place. Director Akira Kurosawa’s resetting of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” in feudal Japan is one of his most acclaimed films.

Summer Wars (2009)

Summer Wars (2009)

Kenji is your typical teenage misfit. He’s good at math, bad with girls, and spends most of his time out hanging out in the all-powerful online community known as OZ. His second life is the only life he has – until the girl of his dreams, Natsuki, hijacks him for a starring role as a fake fiancé at her family reunion. Things only get stranger from there. A late-night email containing a cryptic mathematic riddle leads to the unleashing of a rogue AI intent on using the virtual world of OZ to destroy the real world. As Armageddon looms on the horizon, Kenji and his new “family” set aside their differences and band together to save the worlds they inhabit in this “near-perfect blend of social satire and science fiction.”

The Emperor in August (2015)

The Emperor in August (2015)

In July 1945, during the end of World War II, Japan is forced to accept the Potsdam Declaration. A cabinet meeting has continued through days and nights, but a decision cannot be made. The U.S. drops atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. General Korechika Anami is torn over making the proper decision and the Emperor of Japan worries about his people. Prime Minister Kantaro Suzuki leads the cabinet meeting, while Chief Secretary Hisatsune Sakomizu can’t do anything, but watch the meeting. At this time, Major Kenji Hatanaka and other young commissioned officers, who are against Japan surrendering, move to occupy the palace and a radio broadcasting station. The radio station is set to broadcast Emperor Hirohito reading out the Imperial Rescript on the Termination of the War.

It Comes (2018)

It Comes (2018)

To protect his family from a mysterious being, a man joins forces with a journalist and an exorcist —but they come to learn what they are dealing with is beyond their imagination.

The Garden of Words (2013)

The Garden of Words (2013)

Takao, who is training to become a shoemaker, skipped school and is sketching shoes in a Japanese-style garden. He meets a mysterious woman, Yukino, who is older than him. Then, without arranging the times, the two start to see each other again and again, but only on rainy days. They deepen their relationship and open up to each other. But the end of the rainy season soon approaches …

Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)

Children Who Chase Lost Voices (2011)

The film centers on Asuna, a young girl who spends her solitary days listening to the mysterious music emanating from the crystal radio she received from her late father as a memento. One day while walking home she is attacked by a fearsome monster and saved mysterious boy named Shun. However, Shun disappears and Asuna embarks on a journey of adventure to the land of Agartha with her teacher Mr. Morisaki to meet a Shun again. Through her journey she comes to know the cruelty and beauty of the world, as well as loss.

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (2015)

Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie (2015)

Set in a futuristic Japan after the end of a brutal world war, science has advanced by leaps and bounds giving humanity the choice to prolong life and reduce suffering with the use of sophisticated cybernetics. With all of humanity linked into one system of minds and personalities known as ghosts, the biggest threat to civilization is the cyber terrorists capable of hijacking people’s bodies and memories. When a ghost-infecting virus known as Fire-Starter begins spreading through the system resulting in the assassination of the Japanese Prime Minister, Major Motoko Kusanagi and her elite team of special operatives are called in to track down its source. As they delve deeper and deeper into their investigation, they uncover traces of government corruption and a shadowy broker that bears an all-too-familiar face. The film is a continuation to the plot of the Pyrophoric Cult episode of Arise, and ties up loose ends from that arc.

Millennium Actress (2002)

Millennium Actress (2002)

Documentary filmmaker Genya Tachibana has tracked down the legendary actress Chiyoko Fujiwara, who mysteriously vanished at the height of her career. When he presents her with a key she had lost and thought was gone forever, the filmmaker could not have imagined that it would not only unlock the long-held secrets of Chiyoko’s life… but also his own.

Kagemusha (1980)

Kagemusha (1980)

Akira Kurosawa’s lauded feudal epic presents the tale of a petty thief who is recruited to impersonate Shingen, an aging warlord, in order to avoid attacks by competing clans. When Shingen dies, his generals reluctantly agree to have the impostor take over as the powerful ruler. He soon begins to appreciate life as Shingen, but his commitment to the role is tested when he must lead his troops into battle against the forces of a rival warlord.