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Top Japanese Movies of the 2010s

A movie is likely one of the easiest forms of entertainment and they are loved by many. Over the years, streaming services such as Netflix has given an opportunity for foreign films to make a rise in the film market around the world. Japanese films are steadily growing in popularity in America and around the world and they are loved by many. If you have not yet seen a Japanese movie or if you want to get a little bit of listening practice in, here are seven of the top movies in the 2010s that you ought to check out.


1. 君の名は (Kimi no Na wa), Your Name

Coming in at number one on the list is the anime film, Kimi no Na wa. The movie follows a boy and a girl who exist during different times and learn of each other when they swap bodies. Unsure of what causes the switch, they try to live each other’s lives during the moments that they are switched until the switches stopped happening and the boy learns the tragic fate of the girl. This movie with its simple yet complex storyline and beautiful images is fantastic and a must-see for animated movie lovers.


2. One Piece Film Z

This anime film comes from the hit anime and manga series One Piece. It follows everyone’s favorite straw hat pirate and his crew as obstacles appear before them. This time a former marine admiral steals an important object which causes problems for everyone including the straw hat pirates. Anime and manga are increasingly growing in popularity around the world, especially in the United States, thus this movie is popular among many foreigners. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. You will surely get a laugh watching Luffy and his hardly ever serious personality defeat enemies.


3. 告白 (Kokuhaku), Confessions

Confessions is a psychological thriller and drama released in 2010 and directed by Tetsuya Nakashima. After the death of her daughter, Yuko Moriguchi plots revenge on the two students who she believed to have killed her daughter since turning them into the police would not make a difference due to the students being minors. It is later revealed that the two students faced issues in their own relationships with their mothers. The film raises awareness about the importance of a child’s relationship with their mother and the bond that a mother has with her child. If you enjoy a thrilling mystery type of movie, check out Confessions.


4. そして父になる (Soshite Chichi ni Naru), Like Father. Like Son.

Many of the good Japanese films tend to address social issues or pull at your heartstrings and jerk tears. “Like Father. Like Son.” is one of those movies. The story follows a money-driven businessman living together with his son. He later finds out the boy he raised was not his son and that his biological son was actually switched at birth. The man is then faced with the decision of keeping the boy that he raised or going after his real son.


5. 横道世之介 (Yokomichi Yonosuke), The Story of Yonosuke

The Story of Yonosuke takes place in 1987 Tokyo where Nagasaki native, Yonosuke goes to school to study business. Yonosuke meets many people through his journey from different walks of life – another, disheveled man, a woman aspiring to be an actress, a pretty girl, a rich guy and his friends, all of whom is impacted by Yonosuke. The film shows how ordinary people can impact others and makes viewers take a look at how people impact those around them no matter what their background is. It’s a gentle and warm story that you’re sure to enjoy.


6. るろうに剣心 – 伝説の最期編 (Rurouni Kenshin: Densetsu no saigo-hen), Rurouni Kenshin: The Legends End

るろうに剣心 – 伝説の最期編 (Rurouni Kenshin: Densetsu no saigo-hen), Rurouni Kenshin: The Legends End


Rurouni Kenshin is already a popular name outside of Japan due to the manga and anime of the same title. Therefore, the Rurouni Kenshin movies are popular in a similar way that One Piece is. In this particular Rurouni Kenshin movie, the beloved samurai X begins training in order to defeat Makoto, who plans to bring down the Meiji government with his iron ship. However, Kenshin is missing the vital thing that will ensure his ability to defeat his powerful enemy. Lovers of swords and action will enjoy this movie.


While these six movies are great, this is merely just a start-up list of recommendations. There are many great Japanese movies that were released in the 2010s, so feel free to watch these six and explore beyond these six movies. There is still time for another magnificent Japanese movie to be released before the turn of the decade and that movie could possibly top all that has been released thus far. Check out Japanese cinema and find out what your favorite style of Japanese film is. Either way, you will be highly entertained.