5 Japanese Movies You’ll Love

1.  インシテミル 7日間のデス・ゲーム (Incite mill)
Japanese Level: ☆☆☆

Ten people are promised a dream job that pays 112,000 Yen per hour with no experience required. They are sent to an underground complex and where they must play a murder game that will last for seven days. They are monitored 24/7. They are each sent to individual rooms and given special weapons. As they adjust to the game’s rules, each person must return to his room by 10PM or be killed by a robot. The game ends at the end of 7 days or when only 2 people are left.

But why would they kill each other if they don’t have to? What are the secrets behind this game? Is this not the dream job that they all expected. This is a psychological thriller that really tests the mental depths of each person involved. It is a mystery that has you asking who and why all the way to the end.

This movie is an adaptation of the book with the same name. The book was quite in depth, so this movie is a bit on the shallower end.


2.  曲がれ!スプーン (Go find a psychic)
Japanese Level: ☆

Want a movie full of normal people with super powers that meet once a year to hold a real psychic party? Every year on Christmas Eve, Cafe Telekinesis holds a gathering for psychics to show off their usually hidden from the world abilities to each other.

Yone Sakurai (Nagasawa Masami ) is a program director for a psychic variety TV show called “Asunaro Psychic.” Yone actually believes in psychic abilities and is in charge of searching Japan on the hunt for real psychics. After encountering a number of fakes who use mere parlor tricks to try to prove how special they are, she eventually and by chance comes across this cafe which is exactly what she is looking for.

However, she doesn’t know the truth behind this gathering, and the psychics there all hate Yone’s TV show and must use all of their power to hide their abilities from Yone. Who will win out in the end?

You can’t help but laugh at their actual powers and how they use them.


Japanese Level: ☆

Considered a historical fantasy film, it is based on the story of Ishikawa Goemon, a legendary outlaw hero who stole valuables from the rich and gave them to the poor (like a Japanese Robin Hood). The film is a fictional account of Goemon’s exploits and his role during the final phase of warring states period, and the period leading up to the famous battle of Sekigahra.

The visual effects are absolutely stunning, the acting is at top level for the entire cast, and it is one of Japan’s top recent fantasy movies. If you like the trailer you’ll like the movie.

kaiji 4.   カイジ 人生逆転ゲーム (Kaiji: The Ultimate Gambler)
Japanese Level: ☆

Kaiji moves to Tokyo to get a job, but fails because he is a bit strange, and blames the economy. So he spends his time with pranks, gambling, liquor and cigarettes. Kaiji can’t stop thinking about money and how poor he is. This misery continues for two years until he is paid a visit from Endo, who is there to collect an outstanding debt that Kaiji carelessly co-signed for a friend. Endo gives Kaiji two options. Repay the loan over 10 years or join a crazy gambling ship to clear the debt in one night. This is a movie that focuses on life-threatening gambling games that show the darker side of humanity. Can Kaiji survive? Will he be able to become the ultimate gambler?


Blue Bird
5.   青い鳥 (Blue Bird)
Japanese Level: ☆

In the previous semester Noguchi, a bullied student attempted commit suicide which shook the entire school. In the new semester a new temporary teacher has arrived. Murauchi (Abe Hiroshi) enters the class and begins with a startling introduction to his class:

“I am a stutterer. However, when I talk, I talk with meaning.”

While Murauchi has difficulty speaking, his words carry deep meaning, and he tries to reach out to his troubled students who are still recovering from trauma. His first order is to have his students return Noguchi’s desk to the classroom and to its original place. After this he walks by it every day saying “Good morning Noguchi” to the empty desk in recognition of him and to show the other students that they need to accept what they did to him.

Can this unique character of a teacher connect with his students in time to save them from a downward emotional spiral? Can the school’s letter box known as the “Blue Bird” make any difference?

This is a slow paced, but quite touching and emotional movie.

Seen any of these movies? What did you think? Do you recommend them?

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Founder of Jalup. Spends most of his time absorbing and spreading thrilling information about learning Japanese.

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