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38 War Japanese Drama To Watch In 2022

38 War Japanese Drama To Watch In 2022
38 War Japanese Drama To Watch In 2022

Here is a list of 38 War Japanese Drama that you may consider watching. Unlike the Godzilla and Kurosawa movies, Japanese cinema has never really taken off in the West. However, those are a small portion of Japanese films, including works about war, and span every genre. There have been few films that depict war from a Japanese perspective that have found success in the West except Tora Tora Tora & Letter From Iwo Jima. With 38 suggestions for Japanese war drama, I’d like to change that.

We must first establish what counts. While Chanbara movies are fantastic, I will only speak to wars between the Meiji Era and the end of World War II when I say “Japanese war movie.” Second, it must focus primarily on battle, combat, and military life during a war. Since Japan was at peace, even though I adore movies like The Revolt and Memoirs of Japanese Assassins, they tended to be more political. Thirdly, movies like Merry Christmas and Mr. Lawrence are not allowed because they do not exclusively or even mostly contain Japanese characters. Finally, it can only be well known in the West, which essentially only means the Letters mentioned above From Iwo Jima and Tora Tora Tora.

For a good reason, audiences are fascinated by films depicting Japan during World War II. The bombing of Pearl Harbor & the Battle of Iwo Jima is just two of the dramatic events that occurred during this period. The best of the many excellent movies about this period give depth and nuance to sometimes misrepresented individuals. In addition to the top 10 Japanese war films, this list of the best films about WWII Japan also contains Midway, Grave of the Fireflies, and Empire of the Sun.

38 War Japanese Drama To Watch In 2022

What movies can you discover on this list of the top World War II Japan movies? Clint Eastwood seemed particularly interested in the topic; he has even directed two films about Iwo Jima.

He accompanies the Marines and Navy Corpsmen credited with raising the American flag there in Flags of Our Fathers. The perspective is changed in Letters from Iwo Jima to that of the Japanese soldiers engaged in the same conflict. The Wind Rises by Hayao Miyazaki is an animated film that explores mature ideals of responsibility by telling the true story of a warplane designer. This list includes Unbroken and To End All Wars, two excellent movies.

1. The Militarists

Gunbatsu has two distinct meanings. One is “military factions,” referring to the Imperial Way and Control Factions that almost tore the Japanese army apart in the 1930s. The Militarists (Gunbatsu) 1970 The other falls under the category of “militarist” as used in the West. Japan never had a political party that overthrew the government and started a war, unlike the Nazis and the Fascists. Instead, the blame fell on an ill-defined, nebulous group of “militarists.”

The Militarists, a documentary in the style of Tora Tora Tora, begins with the 2-26 Incident before moving on to General Hideki Tojo’s ascendancy to the positions of army minister in July 1940 and prime minister in October 1941. The lead-up to Pearl Harbor is a primary focus of the film. While Tojo is a primary focus, significant attention is paid to the unidentified staff officers who persuaded their superiors to go to war and the bitter rivalry between the Japanese Army & Navy that hindered the war effort.

The show is primarily a docudrama, but a fictional journalist character is partially based on a natural person whose pro-Navy editorials so infuriated Tojo that he ordered him to be inducted into the army before the navy snatched him up & sent him into the Naval Press Corps. The Militarists is a high-level examination of the war, mainly through the eyes of those who organized it. Still, it also delves deeply into Japanese society and how that civilization contributed to the outbreak of the war.

The Militarists

The Militarists

2. Japan’s Longest Day

Japan’s Longest Day, directed by Kihachi Okamoto and features a distinctive score, is one of the most well-known Japanese war films; in fact, it is typically rebroadcast on August 15. It discusses the infamous Imperial Palace Incident and the final 24 hours of World War II. Japan’s Longest Day (1967) (Kyujo Jiken). This movie, as close to a docudrama as you can get, includes no fictional characters, unlike The Militarists. For those unaware, the final 24 hours of World War II were full of intrigue and drama—ideal material for a film.

The emperor recorded a speech after agreeing to submit, which aired to the populace on August 15, 1945. However, a gang of young Army officers staged a revolt, assassinated the Imperial Guard commander, and surrounded the Imperial Palace. The recording had to be located, destroyed, and the conflict had to go on indefinitely.

Heavy heavyweights in Japanese cinema include Toshiro Mifune, who plays General Anami, and So Yamamura, who plays Admiral Yonai. And Chishu Ryu, who plays Prime Minister Suzuki. And Hakuo Matsumoto, who played one of the first actors to portray the emperor on screen, all have prominent roles. But Toshio Kurosawa, who plays Major Hatanaka, the main driving force behind the plot, gives the most enduring performance. Insane, unstable, and restless, Kurosawa is always on the edge of erupting like a volcano.

Japan's Longest Day

Japan’s Longest Day

3. The Battle of Okinawa

This documentary, helmed by Kihachi Okamoto, centers on decisive Pacific War combat. The film depicts the defense planning, tactics, and last battle the Japanese fought to protect Okinawa with a sizable cast of actors, most of whom play essential roles but also some fictional ones. Even if seeing soldiers be machine-gunned, bombed, and set on fire for two and a half hours becomes tiresome, the film does a fantastic job illustrating the lengths the Japanese were willing to go to win a conflict they were destined to lose.

The 1971 Japanese war drama Battle of Okinawa was directed by Kihachi Okamoto from a screenplay by Kaneto Shindo and featured special effects by Teruyoshi Nakano. On July 17, 1971, a roadshow theatrical version of the Battle of Okinawa was released in Japan. On August 14, 1971, it was given a general distribution in Japan. The movie was the fourth-highest-grossing domestic release in Japan and Toho’s top earner of the year. On September 11, 1973, Min-On of America distributed the 149-minute film in theatres across the country.

4. Port Arthur

In contrast to World War II, Japan saw the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) as its “good war” from the perspective of David (Japan) vs. Goliath (Russia). The majority of the world believed Russia would triumph; hence the sinking of the Russian fleet at Tsushima was a genuine surprise to everyone. The Russo-Japanese War was & still is a source of pride for Japan, even though there were imperialist goals (the war resulted in Korea’s eventual annexation by Japan). Japan had a serious chance of losing and becoming a colony itself, but instead, it became the first Asian country to dethrone a Western power in contemporary history.

Lieutenant Takeshi Koga (Teruhiko Aoi) and General Maresuke Nogi (Tatsuya Nakadai), two fictitious and historical figures, respectively, are the principal subjects of Port Arthur. Lieutenant Koga begins as a Christian idealist who has no hatred for Russia.

To prevent the kids from removing it until the war is ended, he writes “Beautiful Country Japan, Beautiful Country Russia” on the chalkboard before he quits his civilian job as a teacher. Of course, General Nogi is in charge of the Third Japanese Army, the force tasked with retaking Port Arthur from the Russians. Being a warm water port that didn’t freeze over in the winter and was sought after by both sides made Port Arthur exceptionally significant.

Port Arthur

Port Arthur

5. Under the Flag of the Rising Sun

Under the Flag of the Rising Sun is like Rashomon during the Pacific War. This movie, directed by Kinji Fukusaku (Battle Royale), centers on a Japanese war widow (Sachiko Hidari) requesting her husband’s pension in the early 1970s. Her husband passed away in the Pacific War. Her claim, however, is invalidated by the army’s designation of her spouse as a deserter. Unable to accept that, she seeks out former teammates of her husband’s, but each guy offers conflicting accounts of his exact death. Was he slain during combat? Did he undergo a cannibalism execution? Is the truth worse, though?

This movie uses flashbacks to tell its war story, but it does a fantastic job of capturing the spirit of postwar Japan, which was eager to forget the war and go on. She encounters a variety of veterans, from those who are utterly traumatized and unable to adapt to civilian life to respectable guys who conceal their suffering behind a stoic façade. Amazing shots of still images depicting the murders of Yukio Mishima and Inejiro Asanuma convey the lasting fear that if Japan forgets the war, another conflict may break out.

Even the widow’s daughter didn’t know her father and wasn’t concerned about his fate, advising her mother to put the issue to rest and move on with her life. The movie does a fantastic job of illustrating how civilians left behind by fallen troops also suffer during times of conflict. But until she learns about her husband’s awful fate, she is tormented by a vital need.

Under the Flag of the Rising Sun

Under the Flag of the Rising Sun

6. Letters from Iwo Jima

Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya star in Clint Eastwood’s 2006 Japanese-language American war film Letters from Iwo Jima, which was also co-produced. As a companion piece to Clint Eastwood’s Flags of Our Fathers, which depicts the same conflict from the American point of view, The Battle of Iwo Jima is shown in the film from the viewpoint of the Japanese forces. The two films were shot back-to-back. Despite being co-produced by American businesses DreamWorks Pictures, Malpaso Productions, and Amblin Entertainment, Letters from Iwo Jima is almost entirely in Japanese.

Japanese archaeologists investigated trenches on Iwo Jima in 2005 and discovered something in the mud. The scene shifts to 1944 at Iwo Jima. When the lieutenant general arrives to take charge of the garrison, Private First Class Saigo, a conscripted baker who misses his wife and daughter, is working with his company digging beach trenches. Saigo is spared from being “unpatriotically” punished by Captain Tanida after he orders the troops to dig defense tunnels beneath the entire island.

Some other officers disagree with Kuribayashi’s defense-in-depth approach, and he and Lieutenant Colonel Takeichi, a famous Olympic gold champion showjumper, get into a fight. The fact that Japan cannot deploy troops leads Kuribayashi to assume that the tunnel system and the mountain defenses have a higher chance of holding out.

Letters from Iwo Jima

Letters from Iwo Jima

7. Tora! Tora! Tora!

In August 1939, the United States imposed trade restrictions on Japan, limiting its access to raw materials. Despite opposition from the Japanese navy, influential Japanese army officers and politicians were forced through an alliance with Germany & Italy in September 1940 and prepared for war.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the recently appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet, reluctantly organizes a pre-emptive strike against the U.S. Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor because he believes doing so will give Japan the best chance of controlling the Pacific Ocean. While his former Naval Academy classmate Mitsuo Fuchida is chosen to lead the attack, Air Staff Officer Minoru Genda is determined to plan the operation.

Meanwhile, U.S. military intelligence in Washington has cracked the Japanese Purple Code, enabling them to intercept covert radio signals informing them of an upsurge in Japanese naval activity. Col. Bratton of the U.S. Army and Lt. Commander Kramer of the U.S. Navy is keeping an eye on the broadcasts.

Admiral Kimmel ups defensive naval and aerial patrols surrounding Hawaii from Pearl Harbor, which might give advance notice of an enemy presence. General Howard Davidson of the 14th Pursuit Wing tries moving some of the planes to other airfields on Oahu to ensure air readiness after General Short advises concentrating aircraft at the base on the runways to prevent sabotage by enemy operatives in Hawaii.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Tora! Tora! Tora!

8. Grave of the Fireflies

A 1967 short tale by Akiyuki Nosaka inspired the 1988 Japanese animated war tragedy film Grave of the Fireflies. Isao Takahata wrote and directed the script, and Studio Ghibli animated it for Shinchosha Publishing. After World War Two, the spirits of two kids haunt the streets of Japan. After losing their family in World War Two, they portray the ruins and traces of their memories of their orphaned life.

The Yokokawas’ home in Kobe and most of the city was destroyed in a firebombing in 1945. While their mother passes away in the hospital, teenage Seita and his younger sister Setsuko leave unscathed. Setsuko finds out about their mother’s passing despite Seita’s best efforts to make her happy by hiding it from her. Except for a tin of Sakuma drops, Seita gives his aunt all the goods he hid before the bombing when Seita and Setsuko move in with her distant aunt.

As rations get less and more refugees are living in the house, the aunt persuades Seita to sell his mother’s silk kimono in exchange for rice. Seita uses some of his mother’s savings to buy supplies, but over time, the aunt grows resentful of the kids and thinks they are unfit to work for her food.

Grave of the Fireflies

Grave of the Fireflies

9. Yamato

A 2005 Japanese war movie called Yamato. Based on a book by Jun Henmi, it was directed by Junya Sat. It depicts the story of the crew of the Japanese battleship Yamato amid World War II by using flashbacks and a framing narrative set in the present, with a particular emphasis on the ship’s destruction during Operation Ten-Go.

A video from the 1999 Asahi Shimbun special mission to the Yamato debris opens the movie. The story then jumps to the present on April 6, 2005, when Makiko Uchida is visiting the Yamato Museum in Kure, Hiroshima. On the 60th anniversary of the Yamato’s final engagement, she is looking for a boat to transport her to where the ship sank to pay tribute to the crew. Katsumi Kamio, a veteran who is now a fisherman, agrees to take her in after finding out that she was the adopted daughter of Petty Officer First Class Mamoru Uchida, a fellow crew member and good friend who he believed perished with the ship.

The story alternates between the present and Kamio’s memories of his time as an air defense crewman onboard the warship during the Second World War as he, Uchida, Kamio, and his young apprentice, Atsushi, go to the location in his fishing boat.

Yamato

Yamato

10. The Human Condition I: No Greater Love

Japanese epic war drama The Human Condition I: No Greater Love was released in 1959 and was directed by Masaki Kobayashi. It is the first volume of the trilogy, The Human Condition. Despite his reservations about the future, Kaji marries his sweetheart Michiko in post-World War II Japan. He relocates his wife to a sizable mining operation in Japanese-colonized Manchuria, where he works as the labor chief overseeing a team of Chinese captives to avoid serving in the war.

Kaji runs afoul with supervisors, officials, and the Kenpeitai military police while pursuing humanitarian techniques to enhance labor conditions and production. Ultimately, his attempts to give the POWs agency are thwarted by cunning officials, leading to the electrocution of some detainees and the killing of others suspected of trying to escape. Kaji, who objects to the cruelty, is tortured, after which he is conscripted into the army to rid the camp authorities of his disruptive presence.

The Human Condition I No Greater Love

The Human Condition I No Greater Love

11. The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity

Kaji was forced into the Japanese Kwantung Army after losing his exemption from military duty for defending Chinese captives from unfair punishment. Kaji is given the most difficult tasks in his military recruiting class despite having exceptional marksmanship and strict barracks discipline because of suspicions of leftist connections. Kaji’s wife, Michiko, shows her support and love for him by asking for acceptance in a letter to his commanding officer and then paying Kaji a unique visit to his military base.

After learning that his brother has been imprisoned, Kaji considers escaping to the front with his pal Shinjo, who is also wanted for communist activity. Kaji finally decides to continue serving in the military despite his struggles because he disbelieves the notion that deserting will lead to freedom and because he is committed to his wife.

Kaji demands disciplinary measures from his superiors for PFC Yoshida, the mastermind of the soldiers who drove Obara over the edge, after Obara, a weak and poor-sighted soldier in Kaji’s unit, kills himself after domestic problems are exacerbated by constant punishment and humiliation from other soldiers. Yoshida is untrained, but Kaji contributes to his demise by refusing to save the savage soldier when they become mired in quicksand while pursuing Shinjo, who eventually takes advantage of the opportunity to flee. Kaji is taken to the front with his unit after being discharged from the hospital following the quicksand incident.

The Human Condition II Road to Eternity

The Human Condition II Road to Eternity

 

12. The Human Condition III: A Soldier’s Prayer

After the second movie breaks the Japanese troops, Kaji and a few of his comrades try to avoid being captured by Soviet forces and locate the remnants of the Kwantung army in South Manchuria. However, after bayonetting a Russian soldier, Kaji decides to give up any pretense of re-enlisting since he is getting sick of fighting. Instead, he takes the lead while other soldiers and an increasing number of displaced civilians make their way out of the conflict zone and back to their homes. The Japanese are separated from one another and start fighting; finally, many of them commit suicide, eat toxic mushrooms, or die from starvation.

As Kaji and the refugees stumble out of the forest on their last legs, they are met by regular Japanese army soldiers who refuse to give them food and treat them like deserters. Kaji and his companions discover a well-stocked farmhouse on their journey further south, but Chinese peasant fighters ambush them shortly after. When these partisans kill a prostitute, Kaji is courteous to them, and Kaji decides to fight them rather than go away. However, Kaji and his fellow troops are nearly slain and are forced to flee across a burning wheat field to survive after being overpowered by these freshly armed Chinese forces.

The Human Condition III A Soldier's Prayer

The Human Condition III A Soldier’s Prayer

13. Ip Man

Bruce Lee’s instructor and Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man is the subject of the 2008 Hong Kong biographical martial arts film Ip Man. The film is based on events in Ip’s life that are said to have taken place in Foshan during the Sino-Japanese War.

Foshan was a center for Southern Chinese martial arts in 1935, where students from different schools competed against one another. Ip Man, the best martial artist in town, keeps a low profile while cultivating a reputation for prowess through friendly competitions with other masters in private. Yuan, a neighborhood troublemaker, loses his kite one day, and it crashes into a tree in the Ip family’s backyard.

Yuan observes Ip defeating Liu, another skilled kung fu practitioner while collecting it. Ip and Liu had agreed that the winner’s identity would remain a secret, but Yuan unintentionally leaked the information, shaming Liu. When Yuan’s brother Lin, a restaurant owner and Liu’s disciple, tries to set up a rematch between Liu and Ip, he publicly humiliates Yuan and flees from his house.

Ip and his family were forced to relocate into a run-down apartment during the Second Sino-Japanese War after the Imperial Japanese Army seized their home to be used as a military headquarters. Ip accepts a job at a coal mine with Lin after running out of valuables to sell for food. Lin is trying to make amends with his brother but hasn’t found him.

Ip Man

Ip Man

14. A Pay by the Wayside

Do you want to watch a movie and eat popcorn? For that, Pay by the Wayside is the ideal choice. This feature film was, without a doubt, one of the most eagerly awaited releases of 1938. Great performers and actresses, including Hikaru Hoshi, Ichiro Izawa, Shiro Izome, Isamu Kosugi, and Binnosuke Nagao, can be found in the cast.

The film’s direction took a while, but the result was spectacular, allowing Tomotaka Tasaka to get more industry experience. If you enjoy leaving comments after movies you watch, you will have 73 minutes with this one to make sure you get everything. Most of the production and crew are from Japan, although filming can be done anywhere in the world. One of the most prominent things to think about while studying a movie is its script, which in this case, was authored by Yoshio Aramaki and Tomotaka Tasaka.

Production firms stake their money on particular stories that will eventually be made into films, and Nikkatsu has unquestionably been correct. Because there are so many choices to be made, directing the photography for a movie is a challenging process. Since a very high quality can be seen in each scene, Saburo Isayama and his team have succeeded in all of them.

A Pay by the Wayside

A Pay by the Wayside

15. The Wind Rises

Jiro Horikoshi, the creator of the Mitsubishi A5M fighter plane and its successor, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, employed by the Empire of Japan during World War II, is the topic of the fictionalized biographical film The Wind Rises. The same-named manga by Miyazaki, which served as the basis for the movie, also incorporates details from Jiro Horikoshi’s biography and Tatsuo Hori’s 1937 semi-autobiographical novel The Wind Has Risen. It was the last movie Miyazaki ever directed, released just before he announced that he would be retiring in September 2013.

Jiro Horikoshi, a young man in 1916, is nearsighted, which stops him from pursuing his dream of becoming a pilot. One night, he has a vision about Giovanni Battista Caproni, his hero and the Italian aviation designer, who informs him that he has never flown a plane in his life and that creating airplanes is preferable to washing them. Seven years after World War I’s conclusion, Jiro is going by train to Tokyo Imperial University to study aeronautical engineering when he encounters Nahoko Satomi, a young girl traveling with her maid. Jiro assists Nahoko in carrying her to Nahoko’s family house when Jiro’s maid suffers a broken leg during the Great Kant earthquake and then leaves without saying his name.

16. Fires on the Plain

Eiji Funakoshi is the star of the 1959 Japanese war drama Fires on the Plain, directed by Kon Ichikawa. The novel Nobi by Shhei Oka, also known as Fires on the Plain, inspired Natto Wada’s script. Japanese private fighting tuberculosis in the ending stages of World War II is the topic of the movie Fires on the Plain. Kon Ichikawa has drawn attention to the novel’s central conflict between surviving and achieving the lowest point.

The demoralized Imperial Japanese Army on Leyte was in dire difficulties in February 1945 because the Allies, capturing the Philippine island, had cut them off from assistance and supplies. Even though his company has been reduced to just a platoon size, Private Tamura is still considered a useless burden because of his illness. He is told to kill himself if he cannot be admitted to a field hospital. He receives several yams from the unit’s limited supply from a compassionate soldier.

He sees a suspicious ground fire on his way there. He is deemed not sick enough to treat when he arrives at the entire hospital. He goes outside and joins the other rejected people. The medical team leaves the patients and flees when the Allies begin shelling the region. It gets hit and destroyed, the hospital. Tamura runs away as well. He looks back and sees numerous bodies lying about, but he decides not to help any potential survivors.

17. The Most Beautiful

Akira Kurosawa wrote and directed The Most Beautiful, a 1944 Japanese drama and propaganda film. The movie was made during the Second World War and occurred at an optics plant. The 1944 video, which takes place during World War II, shows how the Hiratsuka precision optics factory employees strive to reach production goals. They push each other and themselves to achieve the goals that the plant directors have set for them.

The movie’s manufacturing managers encourage the girls to give their all for their nation. The females march and sing songs extolling Japan’s greatness daily on their work route. They live in a dorm. They are content to live apart from their parents to serve their country. They commit to supporting Japan and work to destroy the United States and Britain every morning before they report for work.

There are motivational messages plastered all over the factory about working hard for one’s country. One of the girls becomes ill during the movie and must stay home, which makes her very concerned about missing work and causes her to cry out of her intense guilt. She pleads to be allowed to stay at work rather than being sent home. Later, a young woman is seriously hurt after she falls off the roof.

The Most Beautiful

The Most Beautiful

18. Eagle of the Pacific

The 1953 Japanese epic war movie Eagle of the Pacific, known as Operation Kamikaze, was helmed by Ishir Honda. The movie dramatizes the beginning of Japan’s military involvement in World War II, focusing on Isoroku Yamamoto’s role.

Despite having severe reservations about leading Japan’s navy into war with the United States, admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, a skilled tactician, is a devoted subject of the emperor. Though he opposes the attack on Pearl Harbor, he is overridden and does his best to command his troops. Toho created Eagle of the Pacific with grand, Hollywood-style ambitions. The company planned the visual effects sequences using storyboarding, a process they would utilize again for Godzilla.

In Eagle of the Pacific, stock footage was used extensively. According to some accounts, producer Sojiro Motoki obtained consent for the movie by proposing to repurpose action sequences from The War at Sea from Hawaii to Malaya. So, Eiji Tsuburaya’s return to Toho as director of special effects was not spectacular.

19. No Regrets for Our Youth

Akira Kurosawa wrote and directed the 1946 Japanese movie No Regrets for Our Youth. Based on the Takigawa incident of 1933. Setsuko Hara, Susumu Fujita, Takashi Shimura, and Denjir Kchi appear in the movie. The real-life Hotsumi Ozaki, who helped the well-known Soviet spy Richard Sorge and consequently became the only Japanese citizen to receive the death penalty for treason during World War II, served as the model for Fujita’s character. The 110-minute movie is in black and white.

The movie started in 1933. Students are protesting the Japanese invasion of Manchuria at Kyoto Imperial University. Famous professor Yagihara is terminated from his position due to his opposition to Nazism. Ryukichi Noge and Itokawa, two of her father’s classmates, pursue Yukie, the professor’s daughter. While Noge is ferocious and an extreme socialist, Itokawa is fair-minded and moderate. Yukie engages in a fierce battle with him, but she eventually feels drawn to Noge.

After participating in an anti-militarist student protest and being detained for four years, Noge vanishes. Noge has been out of jail for a year by the time Itokawa, a government prosecutor, informs Yukie of his whereabouts. He forewarns her that he has changed and is not the same person Yukie recalled.

No Regrets for Our Youth

No Regrets for Our Youth

20. The Burmese Harp

Kon Ichikawa helmed the drama film The Burmese Harp in 1956. It recounts the experiences of Japanese soldiers who participated in the Burma Campaign during World War II. It is based on a children’s book of the same name authored by Michio Takeyama. After the conflict, one of the group members goes missing, and the soldiers want to know if their friend survived and if the Buddhist monk they see playing the harp is the same person. The movie was one of the first to depict combat casualties from the viewpoint of a Japanese soldier.

Japanese soldier Private Mizushima joins Captain Inouye’s troop of soldiers who fight and sing to boost morale during the World War II Burma Campaign as the group’s harp (or saung) musician. They soon become aware that British and Indian forces are keeping an eye on them when they are granted shelter in a village. They find their ammunition and then notice the oncoming onslaught. To give the British the impression that they are oblivious to their presence, Captain Inouye instructs the soldiers to sing, laugh, and clap. However, the British soldiers start singing the same tune, “Home! Sweet Home,” instead of firing at them. When Inouye’s troops realize that the Japanese have won the war, they turn themselves in to the British.

The Burmese Harp

The Burmese Harp 

21. Chocolate and Soldiers

The 1938 Japanese war movie Chocolate and Soldiers was helmed by Sato Takeshi. Even the Chinese soldiers who are the enemy are presented as brave people in this portrayal of the average Japanese soldier as a person and a family man. It is regarded as a “humanist” picture since it pays special attention to the soldier’s and his family’s human emotions.

A dedicated parent is summoned and deployed to the front. He writes letters to his family to stay in touch. These include the chocolate wrappers his son is gathering from his fellow soldiers in exchange for a free box of chocolate. The man offers to join a suicide squad as one noble deed.

Before he passes away, he raises a toast in a cup that his son gave him and, as in earlier “humanist” movies, smiles to show that he intends to die alongside his allies. The free chocolates arrive simultaneously as the son learns of his father’s passing. The chocolate firm awards him a scholarship after he swears revenge.

Chocolate and Soldiers

Chocolate and Soldiers

22. Lust, Caution

Based on the 1979 novel by Eileen Chang, Lust, Caution is a 2007 erotic period espionage mystery romance film directed by Ang Lee. In Shanghai in 1942, when the Imperial Japanese Army had taken control of the city and Wang Jingwei’s puppet government had taken hold, and in Hong Kong in 1938, Lust, Caution is set. In the movie, a group of Chinese university students from The University of Hong Kong plans to lure a senior special agent and recruiter who works for the puppet government into a honey trap and then kill him there. Most people agree that the movie is based on the real-life account of Chinese spy Zheng Pingru’s botched effort to kill Japanese ally Ding Mocun.

Lust and Caution is the dual meaning of the work’s title in Chinese. The word “lust” can be read as “color,” and the word “caution” as “ring,” therefore the title might also be interpreted as “hued ring,” a reference to an essential piece of the plot. Through the symbolic use of the ring, the two alternative interpretations of the title are weaved together to form a warning story about desire and love.

Lust, Caution

Lust, Caution

23. Rhapsody in August

Akira Kurosawa’s 1991 Japanese film Rhapsody in August is based on Kiyoko Murata’s novel Nabe no naka. A senior hibakusha who lost her husband in the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki looks after her four grandchildren throughout the summer. She finds out that her long-lost brother Suzujiro lives in Hawaii and requests a visit from her before he passes away. Clark, Suzujiro’s son, is portrayed by American actor Richard Gere. The movie was chosen to represent Japan in the 64th Academy Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film category. However, it was not accepted as a nominee.

Three generations of a Japanese family dealing with the effects of the atomic bombing of Japan are the subject of the story Rhapsody in August. Kane is an elderly widow whose husband was killed in the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and is now suffering from old age and failing memory. Both of Kane’s married children were born and raised post-World War II in Japan. She also has a sibling who grew up in America and resided in Hawaii with his kid Clark (played by Richard Gere). Last but not least, Kane’s four grandchildren, born following the Japanese economic miracle and have traveled to see her at the Kyushu farmhouse close to Nagasaki, have arrived.

24. Caterpillar

The 2010 Japanese drama film Caterpillar was directed by Kji Wakamatsu and partially inspired by the outlawed short tale “The Caterpillar” by Edogawa Ranpo. In both the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, Japan’s behavior in Asia was dictated by a right-wing militarist nationalism, which is the movie’s subject. The film addresses various topics, including spousal abuse, veterans with disabilities, and war crimes. Graphic sex scenes are present in the movie, which also explores issues of sexual deviance.

The Second Sino-Japanese War, when the movie was set, was raging at the time. Kurokawa tortures, rapes, and decapitates Chinese victims in the opening scene while they are fighting. When he returns home, he is a military hero, but his body has been mutilated. He is deaf and mute, has burned over half his face, and is reduced to a torso, yet he is still alive. However, he is also wearing three medals on his chest.

He is continually eager for sex, which he does acrobatically with his wife, despite his condition. His wife is forced to participate in brutal sexual actions, which he finds repulsive. Nevertheless, she feels obligated to look after him. The disabled veteran Kurokawa ends the movie by dragging himself into a pond near his house and committing suicide.

Caterpillar

Caterpillar

25. Rashomon

In Kyoto in the Heian era, the story opens. A commoner joins a woodcutter & a priest while they are sitting beneath the Rashomon city gate to avoid the rain when they start telling a very unpleasant tale of an assault and murder that occurred. The woodcutter and the priest cannot comprehend how all three parties involved could have offered wildly disparate stories of the same occurrence while maintaining that they & they alone were responsible for the murder. The woodcutter claims that three days ago, while searching for wood in the forest, he discovered the body of a samurai who had been killed.

The samurai’s wife’s hat was the first item he discovered, followed by her husband’s headgear, cut rope (which had been used to imprison the spouse), and finally, an amulet. Eventually, he found the body and ran away to call the police. The priest asserts that on the day of the murder, he saw the samurai traveling with his wife. Both men were called to testify in court. A different witness introduced a bandit who allegedly followed the couple after lusting after the woman when he caught a glimpse of her in the forest and was later apprehended.

Rashomon

Rashomon

26. Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa co-wrote, edited, and directed the epic samurai drama Seven Samurai, which was released in 1954. The story is set in 1586, at the height of Japan’s Sengoku era. To fight off bandits who will return after harvest to bring their crops, a village of helpless farmers hires seven Rnin. A bandit gang considers robbing a town in a mountain range in 1586, but their leader decides to hold off until after the harvest. When the villagers learn this, they resort to Gisaku, the miller and village elder, who advises them to hire samurai to defend them. Gisaku counsels them to seek out samurai who are in need because they have no money and can only provide food as payment.

A few villagers enter the city and finally come upon Kambei, an aged but skilled Rnin, who they see rescue a small boy being held captive by a thief who has trapped him. Katsushir, a young samurai, approaches Kambei and requests to be taught by him. Kambei agrees to help the locals despite his initial reluctance. He then enlists Shichirji, an old buddy in arms, as well as Gorobei, Heihachi, and Kyz, a reticent skilled swordsman to that Katsushir looks up. A wild and eccentric Rnin named Kikuchiyo is likewise accepted despite efforts to push him away.

Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai

27. Samurai Assassin

The 1965 Japanese film Samurai Assassin, starring Toshiro Mifune, Koshiro Matsumoto, Ynosuke It, and Michiyo Aratama, was directed by Kihachi Okamoto. It takes place in 1860, just before the Meiji Restoration, and fundamentally altered Japanese society by eliminating caste systems and devaluing the samurai class.

The movie narrates the tale of Niiro Tsurichiyo (Mifune), an outcast due to his lifestyle as the son of a prominent nobleman and an illegitimate son. He teams up with many clans to fight Sir Ii Kamonnokami Naosuke, the Lord of Hikone. Ii, who serves as the shogunate’s right hand, offended the Satsuma, Mito, and Choshuu provinces when he chose the 14th shogunate, which earned him their fury. After the contentious appointment, many people criticized Ii’s decisions, so he started the Ansei Purge to appease them. The three provinces then devised an assassination plan to remove Ii from his position of power as a result of this.

Additionally, the shoguns eliminated Ii’s spies from the scheme. The actual Sakuradamon episode, in which the feudal lord Ii Naosuke was killed in front of Edo Castle’s Sakurada Gate, served as the inspiration for the novel that served as the basis for the movie.

Samurai Assassin

Samurai Assassin

28. Ran

Akira Kurosawa co-wrote, edited, and directed the epic historical drama Ran in 1985. The plot is based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear and includes passages inspired by the daimyo Mri Motonari stories. In the movie, Tatsuya Nakadai plays the aged warlord Hidetora Ichimonji from the Sengoku era, who intends to hand over power to his three sons.

A strong but aging warlord named Hidetora Ichimonji decides to divide his empire between his three sons, Taro, Jiro, and Saburo. Jiro and Saburo will be awarded the Second and Third Castles, while Taro, the eldest, will be given the renowned First Castle and rise to become the leader of the Ichimonji clan. Jiro and Saburo are to back Taro, while Hidetora will continue to hold the title of Great Lord. Saburo is exiled nonetheless after rejecting his father’s speech on togetherness. Tango, Hidetora’s servant, is also banished for supporting Saburo.

29. Throne of Blood

Akira Kurosawa co-wrote, produced, edited, and directed the 1957 Japanese jidaigeki film Throne of Blood, which also featured special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. With aesthetic inspiration from Noh drama, the movie relocates the action of William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth from medieval Scotland to feudal Japan. Toshiro Mifune and Isuzu Yamada play the critical parts of the film, based on the plays Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Under the rule of Tsuzuki, a local lord who resides in the castle of the Spider’s Web Forest, Generals Miki and Washizu are samurai commanders and companions. They return to the llord’s court after defeating the enemy forces in combat. They encounter an evil ghost as they make their way through the dense forest, and it tells them that Washizu will be appointed llord of the Northern Garrison that day, and Miki will take charge of the first fortification.

The spirit then predicts that Washizu will someday succeed Miki as Lord of Spider’s Web Castle and then Miki’s son. Tsuzuki rewards the two with precisely what the ghost had foreseen when they return to his estate. Asaji tricks Washizu into carrying out the second part of the prophecy by killing Tsuzuki when he pays a visit as they talk about it.

Throne of Blood

Throne of Blood

30. The Hidden Fortress

Akira Kurosawa is the director of the 1958 Japanese jidaigeki adventure movie The Hidden Fortress. It narrates the tale of two peasants who, in exchange for riches, consent to accompany a man and a lady across enemy lines while not knowing that the man is a general and the woman is a princess. Toshiro Mifune plays General Makabe Rokurta in the movie, and Misa Uehara plays Princess Yuki. Minoru Chiaki and Kamatari Fujiwara play Tahei and Matashichi, the peasants, respectively.

Tahei and Matashichi, two ragged peasants, sell their homes and move to the feudal Yamana clan to become wealthy as soldiers. Instead, they are misidentified as members of the victorious Akizuki clan and made to assist in gravedigging before having their weapons taken away and being driven away without food. After fighting and breaking up, the two are imprisoned once more and come together when they are made to work with dozens of other captives to search through the Akizuki castle’s ruins for the clan’s hidden gold deposit. Tahei and Matashichi flee after a prisoner insurrection, take some rice, and set up camp next to a river.

The Hidden Fortress

The Hidden Fortress

31. Black Rain

The 1989 Japanese drama film Black Rain, directed by Shhei Imamura, is based on the Masuji Ibuse novel of the same name. The narrative focuses on the effects of the Hiroshima nuclear attack on a survivor’s family. Yasuko, a half-orphan who lives in Hiroshima with her uncle Shigematsu and his wife Shigeko, is in the process of moving family possessions to a friend’s house nearby when the atomic bomb is detonated. She takes a boat to return to the city and is caught in a dark rain resulting from the bombing. Yasuko is reunited with her aunt and uncle, and the three travel to her uncle’s factory to flee the raging fires. Ruins, strewn bodies, and burned survivors mark their path.

Yasuko now resides in Fukuyama with her uncle, aunt, and uncle’s mother after five years. Shigematsu and Shigeko try to find her a partner because she has long passed the traditional age at which a lady should wed. However, when they learn that Yasuko is in Hiroshima on the day of the attack, all prospects’ families withdraw their proposals out of concern that she will get sick or be unable to give birth to healthy children. Yasuko eventually comes to terms with her predicament and decides to remain with her uncle’s family, despite her father’s offer to let her reside in his home after his second marriage.

32. Kagemusha

Akira Kurosawa’s jidaigeki movie Kagemusha was released in 1980. It takes place during the Sengoku era of Japanese history. It depicts the tale of a low-class thief who is instructed to pose as the dying Daimy Takeda Shingen to deter rival lords from invading the newly exposed clan. The Japanese word for a political ruse is kagemusha, meaning “shadow warrior.” The dramatic Battle of Nagashino in 1575 serves as the movie’s climax.

The Takeda clan’s daimy, Takeda Shingen, finds a robber during the Sengoku era who resembles him so strikingly that his brother Nobukado rescued him from execution. The brothers realize that the thief would be valuable as a double and decide to employ him as a kagemusha or political ruse. Shingen is later shot while watching the combat while the Takeda army is laying siege to a castle owned by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Before succumbing to his wound, he instructs his generals to withhold his death for three years and to remove his men. Unaware of Shingen’s passing, his enemies Oda Nobunaga, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Uesugi Kenshin each mull over the effects of his departure.

Kagemusha

Kagemusha

33. Sea Without Exit

A Hideo Yokoyama novel inspired the 2006 Japanese film Sea Without Exit, which Kiyoshi Sasabe helmed. The movie both exalts and criticizes the World War II strikes by tiny, one-person kamikaze submarines on American ships. A U.S. battleship engages a tiny Japanese submarine on a suicide mission in 1945. After the initial attack, the four crew members must maintain silence to avoid further radar detection. During this time, they have flashbacks to their college years and other events that lead up to this point in their lives.

Koji Namiki, a promising young pitcher, won the National High School Basketball Championships, demonstrating his potential on the field. But shortly after enrolling in college, Namiki sustained a severe elbow injury, jeopardizing his sports career. But Namiki is determined to recover despite a bleak diagnosis. He is getting back on track, too, with some assistance from his teammates. He’s even recently created a new slow ball, which he and his friends have dubbed “the magic pitch.” But fate can be a harsh mistress. When World War II begins, Namiki and the rest of the squad enlist in the navy and start a training program to prepare them for the greatest darkness—a submarine attack technique sometimes known as “The Human Torpedo.”

Sea Without Exit

Sea Without Exit

34. In This Corner of the World

This Corner of the World, likely the most well-known Japanese movie of 2016, starts off our list. The home front is the only setting for this film, focusing on a young woman’s coming-of-age. Although it includes some sights from before and after World War II, it mainly concentrates on 1944–1945. It features images from the cities of Kure (the site of a sizable naval facility) and Hiroshima. This film is stunning. It is produced by MAPPA, a well-known animation studio for producing moving anime like Kids on the Slope. Every frame resembles a detailed watercolor painting. This Corner of the World combines cinematic excellence, a compelling plot, and historical significance.

The narrative centers on Suzu, a young Japanese woman of innocence and talent who lives in Hiroshima and Kure in Japan during World War II. Suzu was employed by a modest family business when a mysterious young guy unexpectedly proposed to her when she was 18. Shsaku, a navy civilian who resided in Kure, had terrific memories of Suzu from ten years prior. Suzu traveled to Kure after marriage, where she joined Shsaku’s family. However, the war against the US was gathering ominous clouds that threatened the ordinary Japanese people.

In This Corner of the World

In This Corner of the World

35. The Eternal Zero

The Eternal Zero is recommended for aviation enthusiasts. The movie centers on Japan’s renowned Zero fighter, as you might expect. A Japanese man seeking information about his grandfather Kyuzo Miyabe, who perished as a kamikaze pilot in World War II, opens the film in the present. The focus shifts to Kyuzo Miyabe’s life in 1941, where we witness him and his fellow pilots battle at the Battle of Midway, the Bombing of Rabaul, and other battles.

If you’re interested in contrasting viewpoints on the same issue, The Eternal Zero is a fantastic companion to The Wind Rises. These Zero-related films stir controversy, but The Eternal Zero does so in a distinctive way. While pacifists like Wind Rises filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki like the film, conservatives did not. Even Miyazaki admitted in an interview that The Eternal Zero was built on a “bag of lies” that was excessively nationalistic.

36. Oba, The Last Samurai

Captain Sakae-ba engaged in a final banzai charge against the United States Marine Corps on the island of Saipan on July 7, 1944, through the Saipan Battle. After 15 hours of close fighting, the most considerable banzai charge of the Pacific War fails, killing almost 4,000 Japanese. The island is deemed secure by American forces on July 9 while Ba and a small group of survivors flee into the jungle and launch a guerrilla-style war from Mount Tapochau, which serves as a natural defensive position with prominent heights overlooking all potential approaches.

Oba (nicknamed “the Fox” by the Americans for his smart strategy) held out for 512 days with just 46 soldiers/sailors and 200 civilians at his disposal until surrendering on December 1, 1945, having lasted three months after Japan’s capitulation following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The last organized Japanese resistance of the Second World War, Ba marches down the mountain with his remaining survivors while singing the “Spirit of infantry” (an infantry song of the Imperial Japanese Army). He then presents his sword to the American commander formally and professionally.

Oba, The Last Samurai

Oba, The Last Samurai

 37. Storm Over the Pacific

Young Japanese bombardier Lt. Koji Kitami was assigned to the Japanese aircraft carrier Hiryu in 1941. A fleet of 30 warships left Japan towards Hawaii on December 1, 1941. Adm. Tamon Yamaguchi, the task force commander, was given the order to attack Pearl Harbor after diplomatic talks in Washington failed. The surprise strike was successfully carried out on December 7. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Koji visits his childhood sweetheart Keiko in Japan. Koji is madly in love with Keiko but worries that getting married will diminish his value as a navy commander.

Through the early war’s victorious campaigns, he firmly believes in his leaders and nation. Still, he is profoundly rocked when the Battle of Midway’s devastating circumstances reveal that the information being reported back to the motherland is false. His carrier, Hiryu, suffers severe damage as American dive bombers attack it during the conflict. High-ranking officers want the ship to be abandoned, but a Japanese destroyer is given orders to sink the carrier rather than leave her as a trophy of war. Koji and others give one last salute as the Hiryu slips.

 

38. Isoroku

A 2011 Japanese biographical film titled Isoroku is about Isoroku Yamamoto. The Admiral and Admiral Yamamoto are the movie titles in other English home media. Isoroku Yamamoto’s family life depicts the last five years of his military service. Yamamoto rose through the ranks of the Imperial Japanese Navy and was a brilliant naval strategist. Yamamoto disagreed with a lot of the judgments made by the Imperial Japanese Army. In 1939, he rejected the Tripartite Pact’s signing with Italy and Germany and worked to avert the impending conflict with the United States during World War II. Japanese war hawks, such as newspaper editor Kagekiyo Munakata (played by Teruyuki Kagawa), and military officials disapproved of this.

Isoroku

Isorok9

He received his education here, was aware of its advantages, and believed that fighting would be pointless. His superiors put him under increasing pressure to prepare for a full-scale conflict with the US. Yamamoto’s obligations and morals caused him conflict. Yamamoto is forced into the battle by the Japanese military system, which also gives him the task of planning the attack on Pearl Harbor. As the head of the Combined Fleet of the Japanese Imperial Navy, Yamamoto was required to follow the directives. The movie also features scenes from the Battle of Midway, the Attack on Pearl Harbor, and finally, the American ambush of Yamamoto’s Mitsubishi G4M from the perspective of a Japanese A6M Zero aerial battalion.

Written By

Pursuing BCA, from Bangalore. Interest in content writing and content development. My Hobbies include chess, cricket, coding, web development, and watching web series, OTT shows. I have an Intermediate knowledge of HTML, SQL, C++ and keen on learning new languages. Open to learning new skills and gain experience.

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