The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Japanese movie recommendations

Ooh! My question about quiet 70s suspense movies yielded great results—a whole Netflix queue’s worth. No surprise, given the collective cinematic erudition of the Snarkmatrix.

So here’s another movie question (and this one connects back to my quick post on Japan). What are some really good Japanese movies of the last ten (or so) years that I should see? With the stipulation that I’m not looking for animation, horror (e.g. Ringu-style creep-out stuff), or action.

What do you think? What have you seen?


It’s a little older than ten years, but Tampopo is one of the greatest food-related movies of all time, ever. (Don’t watch it hungry—and you may want to familiarize yourself with Japanese restaurants in your area to visit afterward.) I’ve heard good things about the director’s other movies, too, though haven’t gotten around to seeing them.

YES! I have seen Tampopo, and I love it. It’s probably one of my top five favorite movies. Good pick.

Saheli says…

I can’t tell you about any recent Japanese movies besides the martial arts movies themed movies I’ve seen because of Aikido (2003’s Takeshi Kitano Zatoichi, with its awesome dancing, Aiki, and the truly bizarre movie night pick of The Calamari Wrestler). But there’s a massive Kurosawa festival going on at the Pacific Film Archive right now, if you don’t mind hopping across the bay.

Kevin Finlayson says…

Some good japanese films from the past 10+ years in the drama/slice of life axis:

Nobody Knows
Tokyo Sonata
Taste of Tea
9 Souls
Tony Takitani

Going a bit further back, you should check out Kitano’s Hana-bi and Sonatine, Kore-Eda’s Maborosi and After Life, as well as Imamura’s Unagi (the Eel) – some of the best films of the 90s.

A great resource for recent japanese film reviews and scholarly articles is Midnight eye, the review list is here:

Brilliant. This is great. Thanks, Kevin!

Here are the top 100 japan movies from the 2000s according to the community :

You can change country and date in the selector to solve other what to see related query ! And you can try our suggestion engine it’s not a bad one.


Mike Duncan says…

Nobody Knows, about a real family of four children abandoned in a Tokyo apartment, takes a tabloid situation and makes a film of great delicacy and beauty.

Come to think of it, you will not go wrong with any films of Hirokazu Koreeda. He is this generation’s Ozu.

Hm, I think the best Japanese films of the past 10 years may have been animated (but this is just judging from my limited, exported to America, only frame of reference).

Along with what Saheli said, the Kurosawa series at New People in SF just ended, but if you want the classics, they are launching intoOzu and Mizoguchi (starting tomorrow and next week).

In terms of the region, I think the most groundbreaking film in the last 10 years wasn’t from Japan, but was from Korea, which has put forth a lot of fresh auteurs in the past decade.

Re: animation—you might be right! I think I’ve just seen all of those already. Like. All of them.

What are a few Korean recommendations?

Park Chan-Wook’s stuff (Oldboy, Lady Vengence, etc.) comes to mind first, and I think Korea does a fair amount of horror. But they do a fair number of smaller, more intimate films that have wowed the film circuit crowd too (I am just blanking on the titles right now).

Kevin Finlayson says…

Hey Robin

I second the recommendation on recent Korean film – a lot of these are genre pieces, not strictly drama/comedy etc.

Bin Jip (3 Iron) and ‘Spring, Summer, Winter Fall and Spring Again’ by Kim Ki Duk

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy by Park Chan-Wook (these are violent and bleak, but worth it)

Welcome to Dongmakgol
Taegukgi – The Brotherhood of War
Memories of Murder
Peppermint Candy
My Sassy girl (light comedy)
A Bittersweet Life (gangster/action flick)

The Host (monster movie) and Mother (in theatres now) by Bong Joon-Ho

Saheli says…

This is awesome. Two good movie lists. We need a snarkmatrix productivity tag, for posts that yield nutrient rich comments.

Woah, I put my comment in before reading Kevin’s. That’s a good list.

Amy says…

I’m surprised nobody mentioned Departures! It’s a beautiful meditation on death in characteristic Japanese fashion. (I second Kevin’s suggestion of After Life, which explores similar themes and is equally moving.) From the older, circa-Tampopo era, I particularly like Welcome Back, Mr. McDonald and Shunji Iwai’s Love Letter. I’ve also heard great things about the documentary that recently premiered in Japantown, Eatrip.

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