5 movies depicting Japanese culture

Cinema is one of the best ways to discover the culture of a country. It portrays history, habits, traditions, music, cuisine, clothing and much more.

Japanese cinematography is very rich and has won all the major awards for the seventh art. There are four Oscars for Best Foreign Film and four Palmes d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, in addition to several other honors of respect. In addition, stories about the culture of Japan have already been told in several productions from other countries, especially the United States.

Want to get to know Japanese culture better through cinema? So stay tuned for our recommendations!

5 movies depicting Japanese culture
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Tales from the Vague Moon After the Rain (1953)

We start with a movie that portrays old Japanese folk tales. “Tales from the Vaga Moon After the Rain”, an extremely poetic work by the great director Kenji Mizoguchi, is based on a series of famous tales from the medieval era.

This is an ideal work for those who want to discover Japan from another time with its legends and ghostly stories. Beautiful, it is considered one of the best films of all time.

After the Storm (2016)

The director Hirokazu Kore-eda won the latest Japanese Palme d'Or with “Family Issue”, in 2018. His previous film, “After the Storm,” is perfect for anyone wanting to know more about family relationships in Japan.

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“After the Storm” is a film that shows how affection and respect work in relations between relatives in Japan. Hirokazu Kore-eda always has a very sensitive approach and is able to extract the best from family narratives.

Geisha - Who Are They Really? History and curiosities

Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)

“Memoirs of a Geisha” is one of many American films portraying Japanese culture. As much as the story is tampered with to generate more interest in the US audience, there are valuable features in matters such as sets and costumes.

According the Late Night Streaming platform, “Memories of a Geisha” is available for rent on Google Play and Claro Videos.

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Tampopo (1985)

the cuisine is one of the most valued aspects of Japanese culture. How about, then, watching a movie totally dedicated to her and that teaches you how to prepare the perfect ramen?

“Tampopo”, directed by Juzo Itami, is a fun comedy that showcases various traditions of Japanese cuisine. In addition to its value for those who like to eat a good ramen, it guarantees a lot of laughs.

Seppuku and harakiri - unknown facts
Seppuku and Harakiri – Unknown facts

Harakiri (1962)

The concept of honor in Japanese culture is different from what we know around here. “Harakiri – The Death of a Samurai”, directed by Masaki Kobayashi and winner of the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, portrays exactly this question.

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In addition to helping us better understand how the Japanese deal with certain factors, “Harakiri” is a must for anyone wanting to know more about the samurai era and its decline.

With a filmography as rich as the Japanese, you will always have several options of movies, series and anime to watch. If you want to delve even further into cinema in the land of the rising sun, getting to know directors like Mizoguchi, Kobayashi, Kore-eda, Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu better is ideal.