Most Popular Japanese History Movies and TV Shows

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1. Silence (I) (2016)

R | 161 min | Drama, History

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
79 Metascore

In the 17th century, two Portuguese Jesuit priests travel to Japan in an attempt to locate their mentor, who is rumored to have committed apostasy, and to propagate Catholicism.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Liam Neeson, Tadanobu Asano

Votes: 87,239 | Gross: $7.08M

2. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama, War

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 374,329 | Gross: $111.11M

3. Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
89 Metascore

The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Kazunari Ninomiya, Tsuyoshi Ihara, Ryo Kase

Votes: 147,366 | Gross: $13.76M

4. Kagemusha (1980)

PG | 162 min | Drama, History, War

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
84 Metascore

A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu

Votes: 29,054

5. Men Behind the Sun (1988)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, History, Horror

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Japanese troops round up Chinese and Russian prisoners of war and take them to a place called Squadron 731, where they are grotesquely tortured and experimented on to test new biological weapons.

Director: Tun Fei Mou | Stars: Jianxin Chen, Hsu Gou, Linjie Hao, Haizhe Jin

Votes: 5,395

6. Emperor (2012)

PG-13 | 105 min | Drama, History, War

6.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
48 Metascore

As the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II, General Fellers is tasked with deciding if Emperor Hirohito will be hanged as a war criminal. Influencing his ruling is his quest to find Aya, an exchange student he met years earlier in the U.S.

Director: Peter Webber | Stars: Matthew Fox, Colin Moy, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune

Votes: 12,534 | Gross: $3.35M

7. Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954)

Not Rated | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Depicts the early life of the legendary warrior Musashi Miyamoto; his years as an aspiring warrior, an outlaw and finally a true samurai.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Mariko Okada, Rentarô Mikuni, Kurôemon Onoe

Votes: 6,952

8. The Barbarian and the Geisha (1958)

TV-G | 105 min | Adventure, Drama, History

5.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

In 1856, the first U.S. Consul General to Japan encounters the hostility of the local authorities and the love of a young geisha.

Director: John Huston | Stars: John Wayne, Eiko Ando, Sam Jaffe, Sô Yamamura

Votes: 1,662

9. When the Last Sword Is Drawn (2002)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A samurai goes to extraordinary lengths to provide for his family.

Director: Yôjirô Takita | Stars: Kiichi Nakai, Kôichi Satô, Yui Natsukawa, Takehiro Murata

Votes: 4,481

10. MAGI Tensho Keno Shonen Shisetsu (2019)

History

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

An Italian missionary arrived in Japan during the Middle Ages in order to proselytize, evangelize and recruit people to his religion. He instituted seminaries around the country and picked ... See full summary »

Stars: Kai Inowaki, Yûki Morinaga, Shûhei Nomura, Atsushi Ogata

Votes: 10

11. Flying Colors (2015)

117 min | Drama

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Story about a problematic blonde girl, Sayaka who knows nothing about academic but wants to enter one of the prestige university in Japan in just one year?

Director: Nobuhiro Doi | Stars: Kasumi Arimura, Nanami Abe, Morio Agata, Atsushi Itô

Votes: 2,132

12. Nanking (2007)

R | 88 min | Biography, History, War

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

Through readings of historical account by actors and the testimony of survivors, the events of the Nanjing Massacre are recounted.

Directors: Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman | Stars: Hugo Armstrong, Rosalind Chao, Stephen Dorff, John Getz

Votes: 3,244 | Gross: $0.16M

13. Heaven and Earth (1990)

PG-13 | 125 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 16th century Japan, two samurai engage in massive battles across the countryside; one attempting to conquer and the other attempting to defend his land while repressing his love for a woman after taking a vow of celibacy.

Director: Haruki Kadokawa | Stars: Takaaki Enoki, Masahiko Tsugawa, Atsuko Asano, Naomi Zaizen

Votes: 862 | Gross: $0.31M

14. The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness (2013)

Not Rated | 118 min | Documentary

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
75 Metascore

Follows the routines of those employed at Studio Ghibli, including filmmakers Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, and Toshio Suzuki as they work to release two films simultaneously, The Wind Rises and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

Director: Mami Sunada | Stars: Hayao Miyazaki, Yumiko Miyoshi, Toshio Suzuki, Shinsuke Nonaka

Votes: 4,352

15. Isoroku Yamamoto, the Commander-in-Chief of the Combined Fleet (2011)

140 min | Biography, Drama, War

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The life of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto from the early 1930's to his death at the hands of the US military in 1943.

Director: Izuru Narushima | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Hiroshi Abe, Shûichi Azumaya, Mitsugorô Bandô

Votes: 887

16. Izo (2004)

Not Rated | 128 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An executed samurai takes an existential journey throughout time, space and eternity in search of bloody vengeance.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kazuya Nakayama, Kaori Momoi, Ryûhei Matsuda, Ryôsuke Miki

Votes: 4,248

17. Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955)

Not Rated | 104 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Musashi Miyamoto returns to Kyoto after years of absence. After a series of fights against the Yoshioka School, he challenges its master to a duel.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Mariko Okada, Kôji Tsuruta, Kaoru Yachigusa

Votes: 5,054

18. Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956)

Not Rated | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Musashi Miyamoto is challenged to a duel by a confident swordsman Sasaki Kojiro. He agrees to fight him in a year's time.

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Mariko Okada, Kôji Tsuruta, Kaoru Yachigusa

Votes: 4,970

19. The Emperor in August (2015)

135 min | Drama, History

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The War ended on August 15th, 1945. What took place in Japan on the previous night? The unknown destiny of the day is unveiled.

Director: Masato Harada | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Masahiro Motoki, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Shin'ichi Tsutsumi

Votes: 416

20. Yamato (2005)

145 min | Drama, History, War

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The movie follows 3 Japanese friends from embarking on Yamato, the world's largest battleship, until it's sunk 3 1/2 years later on April 7, 1945 on it's way to Okinawa to stop American advance at the end of WWII.

Director: Jun'ya Satô | Stars: Takashi Sorimachi, Shidô Nakamura, Yû Aoi, Takahiro Fujimoto

Votes: 1,886

21. Eiga: Tôken ranbu (2019)

Action, Drama, Fantasy

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A sage travels to the past and collects a set of legendary swords, which he brings to life as a gang of talented but dysfunctional young men, to fight a battle against evil.

Director: Saiji Yakumo | Stars: Yoshihiko Aramaki, Tomoki Hirose, Hiroaki Iwanaga, Ryo Kitamura

Votes: 32

22. Hitokiri (1969)

140 min | Action, Drama, History

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A destitute ronin allies himself with an established clan, but its ruthless leader tries to turn him into a mindless killer.

Director: Hideo Gosha | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yukio Mishima, Yûjirô Ishihara

Votes: 868

23. Japan's Longest Day (1967)

157 min | Drama, History, War

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Following the detonation of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese military and the government clash over the demand from the Allies for unconditional surrender. Minister ... See full summary »

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Seiji Miyaguchi, Rokkô Toura, Chishû Ryû, Sô Yamamura

Votes: 605

24. Behind 'The Cove' (2015)

110 min | Documentary, History

3.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.6/10 X  

Negative media coverage on the never-ending whaling issue prompted first-time documentary filmmaker Keiko Yagi to find out more about the topic. With no budget, limited experience in ... See full summary »

Director: Keiko Yagi | Stars: David Hance, Katsunori Horihata, Joji Morishita, Hideki Moronuki

Votes: 199

25. Gekido no showashi: Okinawa kessen (1971)

149 min | Drama, History, War

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Told from the Japanese perspective, this war drama captures the events of World War II's Battle of Okinawa - a massive amphibious assault by U.S. troops that left more than 150,000 Japanese civilians dead.

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Keiju Kobayashi, Yûzô Kayama, Tetsurô Tanba, Tatsuya Nakadai

Votes: 247

26. Bethune: The Making of a Hero (1990)

115 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Canadian surgeon Norman Bethune journeys 1500 miles into China to reach Mao Zedong's eighth route army in the Wu Tai mountains where he will build hospitals, provide care, and train medics.... See full summary »

Director: Phillip Borsos | Stars: Donald Sutherland, Helen Mirren, Helen Shaver, Colm Feore

Votes: 305

27. Sekigahara (2017)

150 min | Drama, History, War

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A depiction of Japan's 17th Century Battle of Sekigahara where the Army of the East takes up arms against the Army of the West.

Director: Masato Harada | Stars: Jun'ichi Okada, Kôji Yakusho, Kasumi Arimura, Takehiro Hira

Votes: 485

28. Himiko (1974)

100 min | Drama, Fantasy, History

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A freestyle, imagined telling of the life of shaman queen Himiko, who falls in love with her half-brother, making her powers weaken thus putting her position to risk.

Director: Masahiro Shinoda | Stars: Shima Iwashita, Masao Kusakari, Rie Yokoyama, Chôichirô Kawarasaki

Votes: 360

29. Manga Mito Kômon (1981–1982)

30 min | Animation, Adventure, History

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Special Agent Mito Komon and his brave companions travel across the country to see people's problems closely and manage possible governmental local rulers' cruelties.

Stars: Toshiya Sugita, Hirotaka Suzuoki, Masaru Ikeda, Yôko Matsuoka

Votes: 210

30. A Ghost of a Chance (2011)

142 min | Comedy, Crime

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When a not-so-stellar lawyer is in need of something to help her case she has to rely on an unconventional witness for testimony. Will the court agree to hear testimony from and will the ... See full summary »

Director: Kôki Mitani | Stars: Eri Fukatsu, Toshiyuki Nishida, Hiroshi Abe, Kyoko Fukada

Votes: 831

31. Hayabusa: The Long Voyage Home (2012)

Drama

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

From the Sumitomo Corporation website

"HAYABUSA: The Long Voyage Home" a film in whose production Sumitomo Corporation participated, premiered on January 19 at United Cinemas Toyosu, one of ... See full synopsis »

Director: Tomoyuki Takimoto | Stars: Ken Watanabe, Yôsuke Eguchi, Yui Natsukawa, Yukiyoshi Ozawa

Votes: 45

32. Sword of Honor (1996 Video)

R | 97 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

5.1
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Cop partners Allen and Johnny receive a call about a robbery in progress at an art gallery where the ancient 'Sword of Honor' is being kept. They arrive in time to interrupt the theft, but ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Tiffe | Stars: Tsuyoshi Abe, Cheryl Archinal, Clay Ayers, Shanna Barbagallo

Votes: 121

33. The Floating Castle (2012)

144 min | Comedy, Drama, History

6.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In the year 1590, powerful daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi nears his plan to unify all of Japan, but he comes across a floating fortress known as Oshi Castle. Narita Nagachika must use his army to defend the castle.

Directors: Shinji Higuchi, Isshin Inudô | Stars: Takayuki Yamada, Mana Ashida, Takehiro Hira, Nana Eikura

Votes: 375

34. Shinsengumi: Assassins of Honor (1969)

122 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Feudal Japan. Kamo Serizawa and Isami Kondo turn a collection of student fencers into a band of assassins known as the Shinsen Group, devoted to the Tokugawa shogunate and to an elegant ... See full summary »

Director: Tadashi Sawashima | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Keiju Kobayashi, Kin'ya Kitaôji, Rentarô Mikuni

Votes: 297

35. Bakumatsu (1970)

120 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The story of Ryoma Sakamoto, considered to be the architect behind the downfall of the Tokugawa shogunate. He was considered an outlaw by his own clan, hunted by his government, and was ... See full summary »

Director: Daisuke Itô | Stars: Kinnosuke Nakamura, Toshirô Mifune, Keiju Kobayashi, Tatsuya Nakadai

Votes: 73

36. Daredevil in the Castle (1961)

95 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

6.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Mohei is a wandering swordsman. He arrives in the city of Osaka, where the Toyotomi clan accepts him and comes to depend upon his courage and his battlefield skills. Those skills are sorely... See full summary »

Director: Hiroshi Inagaki | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Kyôko Kagawa, Yuriko Hoshi, Yoshiko Kuga

Votes: 100

37. Puraido: Unmei no toki (1998)

161 min | Drama, History, War

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

In 1946, Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and twenty-seven other Japanese officials stood trial for war crimes at the Tokyo Trial. This is their story.

Director: Shun'ya Itô | Stars: Masahiko Tsugawa, Scott Wilson, Ronny Cox, Gitan Ôtsuru

Votes: 75

38. Shinsho: shinobi no mono (1966)

91 min | Action, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

It is the 1570's in Japan. Ninja Kasumi Kanbey specializes in making gunpowder. He lives with his young son Kojiro, who witnesses his assassination by five skilled ninjas. Kanbey manages to... See full synopsis »

Director: Kazuo Ikehiro | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Manami Fuji, Michiyo Yasuda, Yûnosuke Itô

Votes: 85

39. 3.11: Surviving Japan (2013)

Not Rated | 90 min | Documentary, History

8.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The True Story of an American Volunteer that lived through and witnessed the 2011 Japanese Fukushima Nuclear disaster cover-up.

Director: Christopher Noland | Stars: Christopher Noland, Kouichi Oyama, Helen Caldicott, Mike Connolly

Votes: 76

40. Handmade in Japan (2017)

90 min | Documentary

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A look at traditional Japanese crafts and craftspeople. Each edition of the series follows the work of those making a culturally important product in the time-honoured way.

Votes: 36

41. Shinobi No Mono 4: Siege (1964)

Not Rated | 87 min | Drama

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Tokugawa Ieyasu is the ruler of all Japan. But one last loose thread must be tied up before his domination is complete -- the destruction of the Toyotomi clan, now beseiged in Osaka castle.... See full summary »

Director: Tokuzô Tanaka | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Saburô Date, Midori Isomura, Ganjirô Nakamura

Votes: 181

42. War Brides of Japan (2018)

Documentary

Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  

WWII Japanese war brides share their stories of struggle and triumph. Arriving in the US alongside husbands who were their former enemies, they experienced being disowned by their Japanese families and rejection by their American in-laws.

Director: Yayoi Winfrey | Stars: Fumiko Kiyamura Caine Alderman, Elaine Ambrose, Myokei Caine-Barrett, Andy Campbell

43. Shinobi No Mono 3: Resurrection (1963)

Not Rated | 86 min | Drama, Crime, Action

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When we last saw the intrepid ninja Ishikawa Goemon (Raizo Ichikawa), he was about to be boiled alive. But a good ninja is both hard to find, and even harder to kill. With the help of the ... See full summary »

Director: Kazuo Mori | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Ayako Wakao, Saburô Date, Chikako Hosokawa

Votes: 172

44. Shinobi No Mono 2: Vengeance (1963)

Not Rated | 93 min | Action, Drama

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Confident that he has destroyed the Iga Ninja, the evil Oda Nobunaga continues his quest to conquer Japan. Meanwhile, Ishikawa Goemon (Ichikawa Raizo) has settled down with his wife and ... See full summary »

Director: Satsuo Yamamoto | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Sô Yamamura, Shiho Fujimura, Mikiko Tsubouchi

Votes: 274

45. Children of Nagasaki (1983)

128 min | Drama, War

6.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In Nagasaki, Japan, on 09 August 1945, at 11:02 AM, 80.000 dead and thousand of persons wounded or contaminated by radiation were victims of one of the most hideous crimes of the mankind ... See full summary »

Director: Keisuke Kinoshita | Stars: Gô Katô, Yukiyo Toake, Masatomo Nakabayashi, Mami Nishijima

Votes: 91

46. Emperor Meiji and the Great Russo-Japanese War (1957)

113 min | Drama, History, War

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Meiji Tenno portrayed the ramp up to the Russo-Japan War. In addition to showing the political events that led to war, it also showed the era from the story of a farm family in rural Japan ... See full summary »

Director: Kunio Watanabe | Stars: Kanjûrô Arashi, Kusuo Abe, Minoru Takada, Shin Takemura

Votes: 22

47. Flame of My Love (1949)

96 min | Drama, Romance

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A woman's struggle for equality in Japan in the 1880s. Eiko Hirayama leaves Okayama for Tokyo, where she helps the fledgling Liberal Party and falls in love with its leader Kentaro Omoi, ... See full summary »

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi | Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Mito, Kuniko Miyake, Ichirô Sugai

Votes: 320

48. Gô-hime (1992)

142 min | Drama, History

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Chronicles the trials and tribulations of Oribe, the successor to tea-master Rikyu, Usu, his gardener, and Princess Goh, who attempt to balance artistic expression and duty amid political intrigue in feudal Japan.

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara | Stars: Rie Miyazawa, Tatsuya Nakadai, Toshiya Nagasawa, Kôshirô Matsumoto

Votes: 179

49. Hayabusa (2011)

Adventure

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Under the guidance of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) the Hayabusa 'Falcon' spaceship shoots for an asteroid in order to correct samples and conduct scientific studies and then ... See full summary »

Director: Yukihiko Tsutsumi | Stars: Yûjirô Komura, Mai Nakano, Katsuhisa Namase, Toshiyuki Nishida

Votes: 90

50. Shinobi no mono: Shin kirigakure Saizô (1966)

87 min | Action, Drama

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The dream of Tokugawa Ieyasu has come true: together with his son Hidetada he rules all over Japan.

Director: Kazuo Mori | Stars: Raizô Ichikawa, Shiho Fujimura, Yûko Kusunoki, Takahiro Tamura

Votes: 88



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