Voices
in
Japan

have your say

What do you think of the quality of Japanese movies?

41 Comments

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

41 Comments
Login to comment

Well, Kurosawa's film's are excellent, as are Miyazaki's animations, but the general run-of-the-mill flick is terrible, just like Hollywood or any other country. There are probably 2 or 3 good films made every year, with 1 or 2 excellent films coming out every couple of years; consistent with the size of the industry here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The best ones are those with tarentos. Excellent acting and intriguing, original plots.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese films are pretty bad, but horror/gory movies are very good here! Also Adult films, those are nice, would be nicer without any censorship!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just stop making those godzilla movies

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Animations and samurai movies are great. The rest....no!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

can somebody name some Japanese movies for me? I need to watch.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They certainly make some creative movies for the mature viewing public.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Appalling. In any other country most movies on at the cinema here would be STV.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just like Hollywood, most mainstream ones are terrible, but the gems are most excellent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

both movie and drama, the acting is very hard to swallow for me.

sometime the story and concept are good, but acting is so bad.

for asian movie, i prefer those from Hong Kong or Korea, some thai but never the one from japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Kurosawa's movies are indeed excellent, but he was a pioneer for the entire world.... FORTY YEARS AGO. What happened Japan? You make some of the worst movies on the face of planet. Even Miike Takashi has started to slip. Other than those two. No one is worth mentioning. Yeah some people have brought up Miyazaki. But if you think about the amount of animated movies that are produced every two seconds in Japan, then statistically one out of billion is going to be considered good. Its like Balliwood. They make twice as many movies as Hollywood, but only one or two a year even gain any recognition outside east asia. Some one brought up adult films. I hope that was a joke. Its a pretty wide conscious they are laughably bad. Every Japanese man i know who has any sense figures out enough English to download American adult film. And yes Samurai movies USED to be good, now they are extremely cheep, cheesy, unrealistic unlike older ones. The samurai films are just Yanki trash with swords to appeal to all the kiddies and well... yankis. Here is one example of how bad the expectations are here. Have you ever gone to a DVD rental store. Well my first couple of times through, I went through the foreign section. I saw some AMAZING dvds that I had never heard of. I though they were new films. Did a little research on IMDB. They didnt even have a listing for 9 out of 10 of these films. Dug a little further. These films are so bad, they don't even go straight to DVD. They are in a new category lower than that. Straight to Japan!!!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am sure of one thing...Japanese horror movies are horrifying. The Grudge made me quit horror movies. So I think they are very good at making horribly scary movies. The jury is still out on the others.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As others have said, there are gems among the dross. Kurosawa and Ozu (anyone ever seen the heartbreaking Tokyo Story?). There are also some modern stunners like "Dare mo shiranai" ("Nobody Knows") (2004).

Still, as for what you can rent here, one great pity with the advent of the DVD was that few if any domestic Japanese movies have been produced without any other language but Japanese. This has made their linguistic accessibility limited for those living here. Yes, I know we should all be fluent, JLPT1+++ speakers/listeners/readers/writers if we live here (!), but those who aren't that skilled would enjoy the opportunity to watch what's available comfortably in another language.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A few years ago there was a spurt of original good movies: Battle Royalle, Audition, Ring. Over the past couple of years, I've seen some small-scale films in little cinemas that have been pretty good. Climbers High and After School were fairly ok.

Some of them have been shockingly bad. That 21st Century Boys thing that is really being marketed heavily is childish in the extreme and pitifully bad.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Straight to Japan!!!!!

lol @ STJ! Thanks for the new acronym matey.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

worst, absolutely terrible... not a single good movie... ever... they just get everything wrong.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The contemporary Japanese film industry is a desert bereft of culture. People like Kurosawa must be turning in their graves. When I was younger, I actually enjoyed some of the independent movies that came out of Japan, however, more recently it is just all so much crxp.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good ones are good, but the bad ones are dire. Wooden, jerky, discombobulated unrealistic acting... do not go there.

Saw "Handsome Suit" coming over on the plane. This local small-town genre is generally pretty good. Gets my recommendation. For the family.

Any Itami Juzo flick is well worth watching. Five star.

Most Miyazaki Hayao animations, pure genius.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The plots are often very good, the sets are great, the filming quality is good but Japan really needs better actors and not so cheesy scripts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can't believe some of the comments. Probably not pig-ignorance but deliberate attempts to smash a whole industry. Or maybe some of those guys live in countries where films are marvels of the universe,yet, no one knows, wow, waiting to watch some.

Has anyone heard of remarkable filmmakers like Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Shunji Iwai, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Hideo Nakata, Naomi Kawase, Takeshi Kitano, Tetsuya Nakashima, Yoji Yamada... just a handful in a long list of talented filmmakers.

I'm French and I've been a movie lover for decades. Now, I must say than both Hollywood and France have reached rock bottom in terms of vulgarity, stupidity and lack of creativity. Like in any other country, Japanese films can sometimes be bad or average or cheezy but on the whole, I see more intelligence, poetry, thought-provoking or emotional content in a considerable number of Jmovies !!

As to the acting kills, I wonder if some of the slammers ever saw people like Tadanobu Asano, Miki Nakatani, Etsushi Toyokawa, Teruyuki Kagawa, Kanako Higuchi, once again a few names in a list of talent galore.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks Balsa666. Good info. For all you negative people out there please have a look at 'Kikujirô no Natsu' (Kitano, 1999) and then make a judgement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Depends on the movie, the question is really opened ended. It's like Hollywood movies, you have some good ones, and a lot of bad ones.

The thing Japanese movies CANNOT get right (same for TV shows) is action scenes involving guns, it just looks too fake.

Then on the other hand, Japanese Horror movies are so good that Hollywood has to go and rip them off. The same goes for Japanese monster movies.

It's back and forth.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am with Balsa666 on this. I've found quite a lot of good movies with those actors/directors he/she mentioned. I really thought "Sore demo boku ha yatte nai" ("I didn't do it") was really good. I also like the actor Odagiri Joe and Tadanobu Asano. I think recently there's been a few less blockbusters but some good gems here and there. "Cha no Aji" comes to mind.

I like the some of the slow or still scenes that occur in Japanese films. Also the fact that tragedies (heroes/heroines dying) are still being made. In Hollywood movies it's a no-brainer that the hero will never meet his maker - predictable thus unsuspenseful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They reflect Japan perfectly : 99.9% completely inane banality / 0.1% genius.

The geniuses are : Kurosawa, Ozu, Itami Juzo.

It's such a shame that Kurosawa spent so much time trying to raise capital in a country that didn't understand him whilst he was alive and not making more movies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sore demo boku ha yatte nai" ("I didn't do it")

ah yes, that film with Ryo Kase right? I forgot mentioning him, he's one of my fave male J-actors though. On second thoughts I should have mentioned Joe Odagiri as well and Hiroshi Abe, Masatoshi Nagase, Ittoku Kishibe, Ken Watanabe, legendary actors such as Ken Ogata or Tsutomu Yamazaki, young actresses like Yû Aoi or Ryoko Hirosue. There are so many talents.

It seems that since Master Akira Kurosawa passed away, the Japanese film industry has not made serious efforts to promote Nippon cinema overseas and this is a shame cause there are so many good films and looking at the number of French, Spanish, Italian forums that try to sub them, there IS a demand !!!

To conclude, I've watched over 300 Japanese movies that were released after 2000 and I've seldom been disappointed, over a third were utterly enjoyable gems.

If I'm allowed to suggest one as a starter, try "Kiraware Matsuko no Isshō": twisted humor, drama, emotion, parody, it has everything and acting-wise, well, Miki Nakatani is pure gold!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Agreed with many people.

Japanese movies are a few beautiful gems in a sea of crap.

Kurosawa and Miyasaki come to mind as the greats but there are others.

I enjoyed Battle Royal, Shall we Dance? wasn't my thing but was good none the less, Sore demo boku ha yatte nai was really good because it actually bought up something dark and real in Japan.

Plus all the sci-fi/cyberpunk and demon/vampire anime and horror movies.

I'm of the opinion that Japan makes some of the best horror movies in the world.

But them you have stuff like Opai Volley and a number of other boring cliche sports movies, horrible comic book remakes and more cliche tear jerkers.

But regarding comic book remakes, I'm wondering if anyone's seen 20th Century boys. I liked the comic and my students say it's pretty good.

And agreed, often the ideas are good but acting and production (especially soundtracks) are crap. I think they could do better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I can honestly say that in all the years that I have been watching Japanese films, I have never been disappointed by any. Japanese movies are very much original and they have inspired the west in a massive way in the last decade. Hollywood are doing remakes of Japanese films. A clear statement to say that they are impressed with Japanese film makers originality. One of the great Japanese film makers to be over looked is Nagisa Oshima. His films are very daring and he is not afraid to push the boundaries. Long may Japan continue to make enjoyable, entertaining and above all, original films.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Depends on the year, but this year's been good. Just saw K-20 and it's a lot of fun, and interestingly very well technically executed. They've really caught up in a lot of ways since the days of cheesy HK style production.

Almost anything by Kurosawa though is in a different league than your usual Western flick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's been really, really, bad. Not just Japanese films, but Hollywood too. TV dramas are really bad too.

I miss 1970's dramas and 1980-90 cartoons. The visual effects and stuff were pretty primitive back then, but they did have good stories to tell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess "Shall we dance" was good, and Miyazaki is a genius. Beyond that, it's all really bad. The baby-faced hair-waxed leading "men" are not good at all. Like a lot of the other posters here, my favorites are the old school: Kurosawa, Suzuki, Mifune, Nakadai.. heck even Shirley Yamaguchi was a lot better than today's group.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

hey scallopman which ONE did you watch haha, sorry cudnt resist!

As many point out there is so much crap that I just dont want to waste my time to see if it MIGHT be ok or good so I just give it all a pass most of the time, on occassion I might watch a J-dvd the mrs wanted to watch but its rare I watch to the end JT is more entertaining than J-tv-drama-movies most of the time!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese movie industry is the same as any other country's movie industry. Hits and misses. If you are a real movie buff, and not just looking for something to entertain you for a couple of hours, there are a lot of good Japanese movies out there. The frustrating thing for me, though my Japanese if pretty good, is that I can't rent a dvd with English subtitles, or go to the movie theater to watch a Japanese film with English subtitles. Another sad part about the movie industry here, is we don't hear about lot of the gems. Large studios make movies they think will make a lot of money, as in other countries it is after all a business, and then promote the heck out of them. The more significant movies are often lost in all the hoopla.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It would help if they had English subtitles.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As has been mentioned, it is all hit or miss. Just like every other country that makes movies.

I loved Battle Royale in book form but absolutely loathe the movie with an indescribable passion. The sequal was tolerable because they at least followed the book.

I have seen the first 2 movies in the 20th Century Boys series both as the theatrical version (on a plane) and the versions they have shown on tv with all new scenes. Seeing both was enjoyable. Haven't seen the 3rd one.

I enjoyed Okuribito but honestly probably wouldn't have seen it if it hadn't got a lot of press from the Academy award win.

Ring was great. Ring II was horrid. Jyu-on (The Grudge) I&II were both good but a bit confusing.

It is all just hit and miss.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I prefer older Japanese movies, especially black and white movies and those based on books like "Sunna no Onna" and the first "Gojira" movie even if they're low quality by today's standards.

Japanese movies now are more for making money with insipid and banal cliches and special effects instead of furthering the art. For example, "Rookies: Graduation". You don't have to act when you scream into the camera for half the movie.

I think life reflects art, and since movies are the most accessable here, after manga, it shows what Japan wants nowadays, good looks but no substance or character.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese movie industry isn't that much different from Hollywood, few good movies in a sea of crap every year. So why is there a standard that every Japanese movie must meet? If people are watching things like "Rookies" and expecting a quality movie, they are looking in the completely wrong direction. And people who are still name-checking Ring, Battle Royale and Godzilla are missing out on more recent offerings. Unfortunately, the language barrier coupled with the lack of subtitles prevents accessibility to most movies except for the very few who are put up for awards or have international distribution. Because of otaku, anime enjoys massive amounts of support in the form of fan-dubbing, but sadly Japanese movies don't get the same treatment. Another reason to learn Japanese folks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese movies - some great - some crap. Percentage wise - I woudl say Japan has a definite edge over Hollywood which is about 85% crap.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese horror films are pretty good for the most part. There are also many good films in other genres. As jason6 said, many Japanese films are not subbed/dubbed so you have to brush up on your Japanese. I get a lot of the films I watch through Netflix. They have a very good selection that they constantly add to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A lot of touchy feeling crap that nobody but teenage girls care about. Some good movies too but they are too few compared to the teenage dramas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I see, you guys are comparing Japanese crap movies with what..I'll list the top movies showing in Hollywood today: Saw VI, Astroboy (based on a brilliant Japanese manga and animation), the Vampire's assistant, Where the Wild things are (go see that one!), Couples Retreat, oh and Zombieland. And I named the most popular ones before we get to the bottom of the barrel. You lose.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese movies are pretty-much junk. Then again, so are most American Movies....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites