If you’re studying Japanese and are concerned about Japanese tradition, then you definitely NEED to watch these unbelievable Japanese films… like, proper now.
Japan has launched some legendary, heartfelt, unusual, fantastical, and horrifying movies over the a long time. Many of which had been so critically acclaimed, they obtained their very own Hollywood remakes (which had been, let’s face it, not as wonderful). From world-renowned director Hayao Miyazaki to horror legend Hideo Nakata, Japanese films are significantly addictive.
They’re additionally an amazing studying software!
If you’re actively listening and utilizing the fitting strategies, you may simply use films and TV as a language studying software. In truth, films needs to be part of your examine routine for achievement! You’ll study concerning the tradition, hear the language spoken in a pure approach, decide up physique language, and extra. And in addition to, it’s an amazing break from watching your textbook all day.
Of course, this could solely be one half of your research. You nonetheless want to find out how to converse Japanese by learning the important phrases and core phrases. And, it’s sensible to search for some issues about your film earlier than you get began. This consists of character names, places, primary plot particulars, and a few related vocabulary. That provides you with a head begin in understanding what you hear while you watch the film.
So, listed here are the easiest Japanese movies to watch and study Japanese from films.
Director: Youjirou Takita
IMDb Rating: eight.1/10
I’ve to begin with my all-time favourite Japanese film: Departures. This film is so stunning, I can’t advocate it sufficient. It follows the story of Daigo, a cellist who loses his job taking part in with the orchestra and struggles to discover what to do subsequent along with his life. He finds a job “assisting departures,” and errors it to imply flights and journey. Instead, he discovers he’ll be dealing with the rituals and cremation ceremonies as a mortician.
While that sounds darkish, the film is something however. Departures focuses on the great thing about the rituals, the influence it has on the households left behind, and Daigo’s battle with social ostracism. Even although correct attendance to the useless is essential, the precise job is taken into account “dirty,” shameful, and largely regarded down upon in society. This film hits all the fitting notes, and the ending will tug at your heartstrings.
You’ll study loads of nuanced Japanese tradition and physique language. You’ll even be uncovered to a variety of formalities — from informal speech between long-time pals to honorific and humble speech acceptable for the heavy conditions.
Director: Makoto Shinkai
Genre: Animation, Drama
IMDb Rating: eight.four/10
Critically acclaimed, Your Name follows excessive schoolers Mitsuha and Taki, who change our bodies forwards and backwards after they get up. One day, Mitsuha is Mitsuha. The subsequent, she’s Taki and Taki is Mitsuha. As a end result, they start leaving notes for one another, texting and impacting one another’s lives and social circles.
Enter fantasy, a comet, and a wistful, heartwarming love story. The stunning animation alone makes this one price a watch. Director Makoto Shinkai has been labeled “the new Miyazaki” for this movie.
Because it’s a “youth drama,” the language will likely be simpler to perceive for these newer to the language.
Director: Hayao Miyazaki, Kirk Wise
Genre: Animation, Adventure
IMDb Rating: eight.6/10
If you haven’t seen this one by now, nicely… What have you ever been watching? Hayao Miyazaki’s most acclaimed film, Spirited Away, follows younger Chihiro as she adventures via the spirit world. After her dad and mom are became pigs, she is caught working for a witch in a bathhouse. Miyazaki’s typical fantastical components and youkai (“spirits” or “demons”) play an enormous position on this movie. With the assistance of an excellent spirit named Haku, Chihiro should try to save her dad and mom and break away from the spirits to return to the human world.
Although this story takes place in a fantasy setting, there’s nonetheless quite a bit about Japanese tradition to decide up right here, particularly concerning youkai and kami (“god”, “gods” or “god-like things”). The language isn’t too arduous to comply with, particularly for those who’ve seen the movie earlier than and have context.
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
IMDb Rating: 7.7/10
Do you’re keen on The Hunger Games? Well right here’s the unique, actual, gory deal. (Although supposedly Suzanne Collins had by no means heard of Battle Royale earlier than, they’re extremely related.)
Following a recession, the Japanese authorities has designed to maintain an annual Battle Royale. The Battle Royale is comprised of misfits and badly behaved youth, as a approach to management them. A category of those unruly children are gassed and kidnapped, introduced to a distant island, and advised they have to combat to the dying till there’s one individual standing. Obviously, issues get loopy and gory quick.
What form of Japanese will you hear? The typical teen subjects… You know, loads about college, pals, household, foes, dying, and blood. All healthful.
Song to the Sun
Director: Norihiro Koizumi
IMDb Rating: 7.four/10
Starring Japanese acoustic pop singer YUI as Kaoru, a younger singer with Xeroderma Pigmentosum (XP). She can’t be uncovered to direct daylight, or ultraviolet radiation might poison her. So each night time she goes out to carry out on the road. She meets a surfer, Kouji, and tries to conceal her worsening situation from him.
A bittersweet, delicate romance film that spawned a drama, manga, and a current American remake all with the identical plot (though the American model is known as Midnight Sun). The film doesn’t have loads of dialogue and is slow-paced, so it’s very straightforward to comply with alongside and perceive the Japanese. You’ll additionally hear some surfer slang like “Ossu!” very often.
Director: Hideo Nakata
IMDb Rating: 7.three/10
You’ve most likely seen the American model, however for those who haven’t watched the unique Japanese one, you’re lacking out. It’s a cult traditional! This is the film that began the Japanese horror pattern and Hollywood remakes, paving the best way for equally eery films like The Grudge. The Ring follows Reiko and her ex-husband Ryuuji, who watch a cursed tape and have 7 days to break the curse earlier than they may die.
Even although it’s a horror movie, it truly showcases the work-life stability of single moms, gender points, and patriarchy in Japanese society.
Director: Naomi Kawase
IMDb Rating: 7.four/10
A easy story for any bighearted foodie. This indie flick follows Sentaro, a person operating a small dorayaki store — a well-liked Japanese snack like a pancake sandwich with an, or candy bean paste, within the center. Sentaro makes good pancakes, however not-so-good an… So he hires Tokue, an aged girl with a ardour for bean paste.
The film focuses closely on the method of constructing the meals, which is hunger-inducing. The language isn’t overly difficult, and its emotional wrap-up showcases a few of Japan’s historical past and prejudices, in addition to reconciliation.
Director: Takashi Miike
IMDb Rating: 7.6/10
Loosely primarily based on actual historical past throughout the Tokugawa Shogunate, 13 samurai be a part of collectively to cease an evil daimyou (a “lord” in feudal Japan). If you liked *Game of Thrones *for it’s lengthy, record-breaking combat scenes whereas nonetheless sustaining a way of story… You’ll love this one. The finish combat scene is 45 minutes lengthy!
The language will likely be extra difficult than the opposite films on this checklist, due to happening in Edo-era Japan. You’ll hear harsher samurai speech and old style phrases — assume just like the distinction between trendy English and watching a British film set within the 1800s. But, it’s an unbelievable film to dip your toes into the water of actual Japanese historical past when the shogun dominated Japan.
Director: Hideo Nakata
IMDb Rating: 6.7/10
Another Japanese horror movie that was remade within the US… But the Japanese model is significantly better. A divorced girl, Yoshimi strikes right into a run-down condominium following her separation together with her daughter, Ikuko. Her condominium has a leak coming from the condominium upstairs, regardless of it being seemingly deserted. The longer she lives within the dwelling, the more unusual issues happen, and he or she learns a few younger woman who died within the constructing.
Like The Ring, this film focuses quite a bit on the struggles of single motherhood in Japan. But it additionally has loads of moments specializing in household relationships, and also you’ll find out how dad and mom and youngsters discuss to one another.
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
IMDb Rating: eight.zero/10
Since its launch, this film’s obtained tons of acclaim and awards. Shoplifters follows a non-biological household who shoplift so as to get by as they reside in poverty.
This film is absolutely fascinating as a result of it pushes previous typical Japanese social stereotypes. In Japan, nothing is extra essential than the household identify, blood, and “face” — one’s picture can be one’s household’s. Although this film focuses on the significance of household, it reveals that household is just not at all times blood or the perfect folks for us. In truth, the film highlights youngster abuse (a serious subject in Japan proper now), and even reveals what poverty is like in a rustic the place it is missed and swept underneath the rug. It’s a really different view of typical Japan.
Boost Your Language Skills with Amazing Japanese Movies
These critically-acclaimed, legendary films are an amazing place to begin your Japanese movie-watching behavior. Not solely will you benefit from the story, however you’ll additionally study quite a bit about Japanese tradition, historical past, myths, and language! Just keep in mind to put in the true examine time by actively listening, taking notes of latest vocab, and rewatching scenes to select extra phrases.
If you need to prep your language abilities and get extra listening observe, be certain that to try JapanesePod101. It’s the perfect Japanese language podcast to decide up all the things from newbie survival phrases to superior dialogue and slang.
What different Japanese films do you’re keen on? Share your high picks within the feedback!
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