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Japanese Cinema

MOST WANTED on Blu-ray     Essential Japanese Film Viewing      TOP 10 Blu-rays

Blu-ray Boxsets       Book Recommendations

Firstly, this is not a comprehensive list - the category is too broad and in researching it, I realized that there could be plenty of releases that I'm unaware of (from YesAsia, CDJapan and Amazon Japan, although we have listed many). There are, obviously,  directors here that deserve much more coverage than a paragraph or two. This page is simply a surface primer on Japanese Cinema with a leaning to vintage films and digital releases available on DVD and Blu-ray. If you feel there is content that should be added, we'd love to here from you in email HERE.

Japanese Cinema has something to offer a wide variety of Cinephiles. There are storylines of period pieces set as far back as the Heian period (794 AD to 1185) with folklore and ghost tales of the era through to Edo history, as far back as 1600, known in film terms as the Jidaigeki genre. Samurai films ('chambara') are generally a subgenre of 'Jidaigeki', often containing conflict and centering on the lives of trained samurai (frequently outside of the military nobility), as well as, young lovers, farmers and budding merchants in small villages. Notable are Family dramas (Ozu's Tokyo Story being the most internationally lauded). There are films about geishas (Late Chrysanthemums, The Life of Oharu, Sisters of the Gion etc.) There are Gendaigeki films that are set in the date of production which could constitute an entire range that can include the Kaiju genre (from Japanese "strange beast") or 'monster films', Godzilla being the most notable - and its multitude of spin-offs; King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, Destroy All Monsters etc.,) as part of the Tokusatsu classification (science-fiction/adventure films including The Green Slime, The X from Outer Space). Horror both historical (Kwaiden) and present-day settings (Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Cure), Pinky films (Arrow's Stray Cat Rock and Female Prisoner Scorpion Boxsets) often with exploitive adult situations containing a dash of softcore sexuality and focusing on the plight of disadvantaged female characters. Modern 'chambara' films like Yakuza crime-dramas (Blind Woman's Curse, Street Mobster, Youth of the Beast) with mobsters and moll characters, all the way through to animation (TV Series Speed Racer, Gatchaman) with the defining cinema of Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Ponyo), Isao Takahata's heart-wrenching Grave of the Fireflies and the more widespread 'manga-to-anime' series of feature films (ex. High School of the Dead).

DVDBeaver have reviewed hundreds of Japanese films on disc but in this article we will organize by specific directors, namely; Mikio Naruse, Yasujirō Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi, Sadao Yamanaka, Akira Kurosawa, Masaki Kobayashi, Keisuke Kinoshita, Kiju Yoshida, Teinosuke Kinugasa, Ishirō Honda, Hiroshi Inagaki, Kon Ichikawa, Nagisa Oshima, Kaneto Shindo, Masahiro Shinoda, Shohei Imamura, Toshio Matsumoto, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Toshiya Fujita, Seijun Suzuki, Hideo Gosha, Teruo Ishii, Kinji Fukasaku, Yoji Yamada, Juzo Itami, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Nobuhiko Obayashi, Takeshi Kitano, Hirokazu Koreeda, Shunji Iwai, Takashi Miike, Shinya Tsukamoto, Kiyoshi Kurosawa and Sion Sono with a leaning to, English-friendly, Blu-ray and what our MOST WANTED on Blu-ray Japanese Cinema to make it to Blu-ray. We will also give some book recommendations as well as essential Japanese film viewing, TOP 10 Blu-rays and some great Blu-ray Boxsets!

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Mikio Naruse is one of the lesser known of Japan's early master directors, both in the West as well as in his native Japan - this is despite directing almost 90 films. He is credited with some of darkest expressions of humanity starting in the 1930s into the 60s. Akira Kurosawa was quoted as describing Naruse's style of melodrama as "like a great river with a calm surface and a raging current in its depths". None of his films are on English-friendly Blu-ray as of the writing of this article including his most revered works; Late Chrysanthemums (1954), Floating Clouds (1955), and When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960).

Flunky, Work Hard (1931), No Blood Relation (1932), Apart from You (1933), and Every-Night Dreams (1933) Street Without End (1934) Repast / Meshi (1951), Sound of the Mountain / Yama No Oto (1954) and Flowing / Nagareru (1956) When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960), Floating Clouds (1955) and Late Chrysanthemums (1954) When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960)

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Yasujiro Ozu's films dealt primarily with the dynamics of middle-class Japanese family life and the subtle conflict between generations. Universal themes examining parent/child communication were prevalent in many of his gentle social dramas. Ozu, ironically, had no direct personal exposure to this familial lifestyle remaining a lifelong bachelor. He is most recognized for his meticulous static-camera style which centered almost entirely on detailed composition. Ozu is well-represented on DVD and Blu-ray - An Autumn Afternoon (1962), Early Autumn (1961), Late Autumn (1960), Floating Weeds (1959), Good Morning (1959), Equinox Flower (1958), Tokyo boshoku (1957), Early Spring (1956), Tokyo Story (1953) , Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952), Early Summer (1951), The Munekata Sisters (1950), Late Spring (1949), A Hen in the Wind (1948), The Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947), There Was a Father (1942), The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (1941), What Did the Lady Forget? (1937), The Only Son (1936), An Inn in Tokyo (1935), A Mother Should be Loved (1934), A Story of Floating Weeds (1934), Passing Fancy (1933), Dragnet Girl (1933), I Was Born But... (1932), Tokyo Chorus (1931), Walk Cheerfully, (1930), That Night's Wife (1930) Here are some of the Blu-ray releases:

 

Late Spring (1949)

Early Summer (1951)

Tokyo Story (1953)

Equinox Flower

(1958)

Floating Weeds

(1959)

Good Morning (1959)

Late Autumn (1960)

An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

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Kenji Mizoguchi is one of the most highly revered filmmakers in world cinema. His films are renowned for long measured takes and an encompassing mise-en-scène reflecting character emotions. While growing up his family had financial hardship and his sister Suzuko was sold into geishadom. This impacted him greatly and the subject of women's suffering is fundamental in all his work. His most acclaimed films include The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939), The Life of Oharu (1952), and Sansho the Bailiff (1954).

Blu-ray:

The Life of Oharu (1952)

Oyu-sama (1951), Ugetsu monogatari (1953), Gion bayashi (1953), Sansho the Bailiff (1954), Uwasa no onna (1954), The Crucified Lovers (1954), The Princess Yang Kwei-fei (1955), and Street of Shame (1956)

Osaka Elegy (1936), Sisters of the Gion (1936), The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939) and Utamaro and His Five Women (1946)

The Story of

the Last Chrysanthemum (1939)

Ugetsu monogatari (1953)

DVD:

The 47 Ronin (1941)

Osaka Elegy (1936), Sisters of the Gion (1936), Women of the Night (1948) and Street of Shame (1956)

Taira Clan Saga (1955)

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Sadao Yamanaka directed 26 films between the six years of 1932 and 1938. He died very young (dysentery) at age 28. His work was almost exclusively of the jidaigeki genre and only three of his films survive for practical viewing; Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (1935), Kôchiyama Sôshun aka Priest of Darkness (1936) and Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937). He is highly regarded in his native Japan and thanks to the Masters of Cinema in the UK we can see those restored films. None have made it to Blu-ray yet.

 

Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (1935), Priest of Darkness (1936) and Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937) Humanity and Paper Balloons (1937)

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Heavily revered in the West, Akira Kurosawa's films have always been more popular there than in his homeland of Japan. His native critics often view his adaptations of Western authors and genres (ex. Shakespearean plays in Feudal Japanese settings) with apprehension. Kurosawa was best know for his utilization of the mis-en-scene - taking advantage of the full widescreen scope to isolate characters and introduce extraneous detail. His films ranged from samurai action to touching dramas. Kurosawa's works are almost totally covered on disc;  Madadayo (1993), Rhapsody in August (1991), Dreams (1990), Ran (1985), Kagemusha (1980), Dersu Uzala (1975), Dodesukaden (1970), Red Beard (1965), High and Low (1963), Sanjûrô (1962), Yojimbo (1961), The Bad Sleep Well (1960), The Hidden Fortress (1958), Lower Depths (1957), Throne of Blood (1957), I Live in Fear (1955), Seven Samurai (1954), Ikiru (1952), The Idiot (1951), Rashômon (1950), Scandal (1950), The Quiet Duel (1949), Stray Dog (1949), Drunken Angel (1948), One Wonderful Sunday (1947), No Regrets for My Youth (1946), Zoku Sugata Sanshiro (1945), The Men Who Tread On the Tiger's Tail (1945), The Most Beautiful (1944) and here are the prominent Blu-rays and a large DVD Boxset:

Blu-ray:

Rashomon

(1950)

Ikiru

(1952)

Seven Samurai (1954) Throne of Blood (1957) The Hidden Fortress (1958) Yojimbo (1961) Sanjuro (1962)

High and Low (1963)

Kagemusha

(1980)

RAN

(1985)

Dreams (1990)

Madadayo (1993) NOTE: The Japanese Blu-ray does not have English subtitles

DVD:

AK 100 (25 DVD Collection)

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Masaki Kobayashi started his film career in 1941 as an apprentice director with Shochiku Studios. This was put on hold as he was drafted into the Japanese Army. He regarded himself as a pacifist, and rejected promotion to a rank higher than private. He spent time as a PoW in an Okinawa labor camp, but after his release, in 1946, he returned to Shochiku eventually helming his epic trilogy The Human Condition (1959–1961), the samurai adventure films Harakiri (1962) and Samurai Rebellion (1967) plus the lauded horror Kwaidan (1964).

Blu-ray:

Harakiri (1962)

Kwaidan (1964)

The Human Condition Trilogy (Ningen no joken)

1959-1961

DVD:
The Thick-Walled Room (1953), I Will Buy You (1956), Black River (1957) and The Inheritance (1962) Samurai Rebellion (1967)

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Keisuke Kinoshita could not be pigeon-holed into only one genre and became a well-respected director in his home country, appreciated by both critics and audiences for his diversity for over 20-years. Many films were commercially successful in Japan. The West knows him best for Tragedy of Japan (1953), Twenty-Four Eyes (1954), You Were Like a Wild Chrysanthemum (1955), and the only film of his on Blu-ray The Ballad of Narayama (1958). It would be appropriate for more of his work - he made over 42 films - ex. Morning for the Osone Family (Osone-ke no asa, 1946), Carmen Comes Home (Karumen kokyo ni kaeru, 1951) and The River Fuefuki (Fuefukigawa, 1960) to be exposed to the West and be released on, English-friendly, DVD or Blu-ray. (quite a few are at YesAsia located HERE) Here are the discs we have reviewed:

Twenty-Four Eyes (1954) Tragedy of Japan (1953) The Ballad of Narayama (1958)

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Kiju Yoshida was a key member of "Shōchiku Nouvelle Vague" also referred to as the 'Japanese New Wave'. Most of his work has been difficult to see in the West. He is also the author of some books on Philosophy as well as a study of director Yasujirō Ozu. He is married to actress Mariko Okada (who is in some of his films). Arrow released a Blu-ray Boxset collection, Kiju Yoshida: Love + Anarchism, of three works from the late sixties and early seventies, 'a loose trilogy united by their radical politics and an even more radical shooting style.'

 

Eros + Massacre (1969), Heroic Purgatory (1970) and Coup D'Etat (1973)

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Teinosuke Kinugasa began his career as an actor specializing in female roles (onnagata) at the Nikkatsu studio. He is often considered one of the pioneers of Japanese film working in the jidaigeki genre. His major contribution was Jigokumon (The Gate of Hell) for which he won the 1954 Palme d'or at Cannes. It is on a stellar Blu-ray editions in both Region 'A' and 'B'.

Blu-ray:
Gate of Hell aka Jigokumon (1953)

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Ishirō Honda is best known for Godzilla and his other kaiju and tokusatsu films. He found a financially substantial niche with other entries in the Godzilla series that included Rodan, Mothra and Gargantuas. Prior to that he did work making documentaries, in Toho's 'Educational Films Division', and war genre films as he served in the military, admitting for the remainder of his life that he has intense nightmares two or three times a year about his war service. Allegedly one segment of Kurosawa's Dreams was directed by Honda following detailed storyboards. In 2009, the first book in English was published detailing Honda's life and genre films called Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men - The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda written by Peter H. Brothers. Here are some of his films on DVD and Blu-ray:
Blu-ray:
Godzilla (1954) Destroy All Monsters (1968) Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster (1966) King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) Battle in Outer Space (1959)
DVD:
The H-Man (1958), Battle in Outer Space (1959) and Mothra aka Mosura (1961) Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965) Dogora (1964) Matango (1963) The Mysterians (1957)

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Hiroshi Inagaki was on stage in his childhood before eventually joining Nikkatsu studio as an actor in 1922, making his directorial debut in 1928. He wrote and directed mostly jidaigeki for the next few years later moving to Daiei and then Toho seeking more opportunities. His Muhomatsu no issho (1943) was voted in the top 10 of all-time greatest Japanese films and he helmed the remake The Rickshaw Man (1958) to widespread acclaim. It was shot in color, tells the story of Muhōmatsu, a rickshaw man, starring Toshiro Mifune who becomes a surrogate father to the child of a recently widowed woman played by Hideko Takamine. It won the Golden Lion award at that year's Venice Film Festival, yet it is still not on DVD or Blu-ray. His crowning achievement being the Samurai Trilogy (1954-1956) with Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto winning the honorary Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for 1954.
 
Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954) Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955) Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956) Chushingura (1962)

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Giichi Ichikawa was given the name "Kon" by his uncle who felt its symmetrical kanji characters represented good fortune. His initial interest was animation and he worked at J.O Studio which eventually merged with P.C.L. and Toho Film Distribution to form the Toho Film Company. He gained attention in the West with his two anti-war films, The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain, as well as the period-piece An Actor's Revenge (Yukinojo henge) about a nineteenth-century kabuki female impersonator’s attempts to avenge the deaths of his parents. Ichikawa's milestone documentary was Tokyo Olympiad (Tōkyō Orinpikku) which chronicles the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo focusing on the atmosphere of the games and the human side of the athletes instead of only the victors.
Blu-ray:

Tokyo Olympiad (1965)+ Visions of Eight (1973)

The Makioka Sisters aka Sasame-yuki (1983)

An Actor's Revenge (1963)

The Burmese Harp

(1956)

DVD:

47 Ronin (1994)

Alone on the Pacific (1963)

Kyoto

(1969)

Fires on the Plain

(1959)

Kokoro aka The Heart (1955)

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Nagisa Oshima was hired by Shochiku in 1953 and in no time started to direct his own films with the melodrama A Town of Love and Hope (1959) being his debut feature. I don't see it available on disc yet. Oshima proved a daring and restless artist expressing a strong dissatisfaction with the political malaise in his home country. He produced some documentaries for television with Diary Of Yunbogi gaining some notoriety (I see on a non-English friendly Blu-ray in French Boxset HERE ). His films recognized in the West are the sexually explicit In the Realm of the Senses (1976), Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), with David Bowie, and Night and Fog in Japan (1960) an intensely political film utilizing themes involving memory and social activism.
Blu-ray:
Cruel Story of Youth (1960) Death By Hanging aka "Kôshikei" (1968) In the Realm of the Senses (1976) Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983)

DVD:
Pleasures of the Flesh (1965) Night and Fog in Japan aka "Nihon no yoru to kiri" (1960) Pleasures of the Flesh (1965), Violence at Noon (1966), Sing a Song of Sex (1967), Japanese Summer: Double Suicide (1967), Three Resurrected Drunkards (1968) Empire of Passion (1978)

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Kaneto Shindo directed 48 films and wrote scripts for 238 more including some directed by Kon Ichikawa and Keisuke Kinoshita. In 1942, he joined a Shochiku subsidiary, Koa Film as an apprentice of Kenji Mizoguchi. In 1943 he transferred to the Shochiku studio. He was born in Hiroshima and he made several films about the atomic bomb effects. Not dissimilar to Mizoguchi many of his films feature resilient female characters. His best known films as a director include Children of Hiroshima (1952) - only on Prime Video HERE, The Naked Island (1960), Onibaba (1964), Kuroneko (1968) and A Last Note (1995), chosen as Best Film at the Japan Academy Prize ceremony. His last film, Postcard, directed at the age of 98, was loosely based on his military service from 1944 to the end of the war.
Onibaba (1964) The Naked Island (1960) Kuroneko (1968)

Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life of a Film Director (1975)

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Masahiro Shinoda worked as an assistant director for Shōchiku starting in 1953. Like Kiju Yoshida, he became a key figure in the Japanese New Wave and showed an interest in traditional theater which was reflected in his 1969 film Double Suicide. This was based on the 1721 play The Love Suicides at Amijima. The fatal love interest (a prostitute), and his neglected wife, are both played by actress Shima Iwashita. It was often portrayed bunraku style with actors manipulated as in traditional puppet theater. This and many of his films, like the award-winning Gonza the Spearman (1986) and Captive's Island (1966) deserve high-definition releases. At the writing of this article only Pale Flower (1964) and Sapporo Winter Olympics (1972) his documentary on the 1972 Winter Olympics have made it to Blu-ray - both by Criterion. NOTE: Silence is on Blu-ray in Japan without English subtitles.
Blu-ray:
Pale Flower (1964) Sapporo Winter Olympics (1972)

DVD:
Assassination (1964)

The Criterion DVD Boxset has Sword of the Beast (1965) along with Samurai Spy (1965), Samurai Rebellion (1967) and Kill! (1968)

Captive's Island (1966) Double Suicide (1969)

The Scandalous Adventures of Buraikan (1970) Silence (1971) Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees (1975) Gonza the Spearman (1986) Childhood Days (1990)

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Shohei Imamura was another key figure in the Japanese New Wave and was noted for a rigorous style fearlessly engaging taboo topics. He started his film career working as an assistant to Yasujirō Ozu at Shochiku but in 1954 moved to Nikkatsu for a higher salary. He continued his frequently used theme of strong women and disreputable men who survive on the fringes of Japanese society. The Pornographers is about a pornographic film-maker whose business is under threat from a repressive government, those trying to steal his work and disgruntled members of own family. His later films are constantly being embraced by the West especially Vengeance Is Mine (1979) about a serial killer and is based on a true story, while The Ballad of Narayama (1983), Black Rain (1989) and The Eel (1997) are all international award winners - in fact Imamura is the only director from Japan to win two Palme d'Or awards.
Blu-ray:

Profound Desires of the Gods

(1968)

The Ballad of Narayama (1983)

Pigs and Battleships (1961)

Vengeance Is Mine

(1979)

The Insect Woman (1963)

Stolen Desire (1958), Nishi Ginza Station (1958), Pigs and Battleships (1961), The Insect Woman (1963), A Man Vanishes (1967), Profound Desires of the Gods (1968), Vengeance is Mine (1979) and The Ballad of Narayama (1983)

DVD:

3 Films by Shohei Imamura
Pigs and Battleships (1962), The Insect Woman (1963) and Intentions of Murder (1964)

Black Rain (1989)

A Man Vanishes (1967)

The Eel (1997)

The Pornographers (1967)

Dr. Akagi (1998)

Warm Water Under a Red Bridge

(2001)

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Toshio Matsumoto had careers as a film director, author, teacher, and video artist. He is almost exclusively known for Funeral Parade of Roses (Bara no soretsu) - now on Blu-ray from Cinelicious Pics in the US, It is a stylistic retelling of Oedipus Rex, featuring a transsexual attempting to scale the hierarchy in the Japanese gay bars scene. He was a professor and dean of Arts at the Kyoto University of Art and Design.

Funeral Parade of Roses (1969)

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Hiroshi Teshigahara is cited as a Japanese avant-garde filmmaker although he began working in, his primary movie interest, documentary film. He is the first person of Asian descent to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director (Woman in the Dunes). Beyond the mid-1970s, he worked infrequently on feature films concentrating on documentaries (Antonio Gaudi), and completing the grand master status of the Sogetsu School of Ikebana founded by his father, Sōfu Teshigahara, in 1927. Ikebana is the art of Japanese floral arrangement.
Blu-ray:

Woman in the Dunes

(1964)

DVD:

Pitfall

(1962)

Three Films By Hiroshi Teshigahara:

 Pitfall (1962), Woman in the Dunes (1964) and The Face of Another (1966)

Antonio Gaudí

(1984)

The Face of Another (1966)

Gô-hime aka "Basara - The Princess Goh"

(1992)

Rikyu

(1989)

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Toshiya Fujita's major contribution to film were the violent, independent, action efforts Lady Snowblood (1973) and its sequel Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974). They both feature Meiko Kaji, who starred in his earlier Alleycat Rock films, Wild Jumbo (1970) and Beat '71 (1971). The Stray Cat Rock flics lean to adult content, occasionally exploitive with a dash of softcore sexuality sequences. They have themes of youth rebellion, crime with femme-fatales, conflict and general discontent. Fujita directed Roman porno films for Nikkatsu in the mid and late 1970s. He also acted in Seijun Suzuki's 1980 film Zigeunerweisen and Juzo Itami's Tampopo from 1985.
Stray Cat Rock Collection
Delinquent Girl Boss (1971), Wild Jumbo (1970), Sex Hunter (1970), Machine Animal (1970) and Beat '71 (1971)
Lady Snowblood (1973)  /  Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)

 

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Famously fired from Nikkatsu Studios for his delirious and eccentric cinematic crafting, Seijun Suzuki is a director like no other. In the 1960’s he was responsible for an unending string of dazzling B-movies the likes of which are not likely to be duplicated anytime soon. His films feature an amazing use of studio sets, often bordering on the baroque and the surreal in their flashy use of color and striking arrangements. Although most of his film’s dealt with the ingredients of trashy pulp fiction -- seedy nightclubs, lonely hitmen, and disillusioned prostitutes -- Suzuki’s mannerist approach to these stories repeatedly deviated so far from the norm, that they are best placed in the realm of 'art cinema'. Style can transcend even the harshest budget limitations, and all one need do is look at one inventive frame from Suzuki’s florid ‘Scope compositions' to understand this. -Adam Lemke . The film world lost Suzuki in February 2017 (aged 93.)
Blu-ray:

The Boy Who Came Back (1958), The Wind-of-Youth Group Crosses the Mountain Pass (1961), Teenage Yakuza (1962) , The Incorrigible (1963) and Born Under Crossed Stars (1965)

Eight Hours of Terror (1957), The Sleeping Beast Within (1960), Smashing the 0-Line (1960), Tokyo Knights (1961) and The Man with a Shotgun (1961)

 Zigeunerweisen (1980), Kageroza (1981) and Yumeji (1991)

Voice Without a Shadow (1958), Red Pier (1958), The Rambling Guitarist (1959)

  

   

Youth of the Beast

(1963)

Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards! (1963)

Tokyo Drifter

(1966)

Branded to Kill (1967)

DVD:
I Am Waiting (1957), Rusty Knife (1958), Take Aim at the Police Van (1960), Cruel Gun Story (1964), and A Colt Is My Passport (1967) Underworld Beauty (1958)

Fighting Delinquents (1960)

Kanto Wanderer (1963)

The Flowers and the Angry Waves (1964) Gate of Flesh (1964)
Story of a Prostitute (1965)

Tattooed Life (1965)

Fighting Elegy

(1966)

A Tale of Sorrow (1977)

Pistol Opera

(2001)

Princess Raccoon (2005)

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Hideo Gosha joined Nippon television as a reporter in 1953. In 1957 he moved on to the fledgling Fuji Television and advanced through hard work with an enthusiastic and adventuresome approach to establish himself as a producer and director. Working in the chambara genre he was given the opportunity to adapt his television production of Three Outlaw Samurai into a feature film and it proved successful turning a handsome profit. He stayed within the genre through the 60's finding success directing Sword of the Beast (1965) about a fugitive samurai who's killed a counselor in his clan and Goyokin (1969) about a reclusive rōnin who is trying to atone for past transgressions. In the 70s Gosha tried his hand at the yakuza genre of films with Onimasa (1982) and Hunter in the Dark (1979). In the 80s he took another shift with films about aggressive women, Yakuza Ladies (1986), and prostitutes, Tokyo Bordello (1987), although The Geisha (1983), about the loves and tragedies of a geisha in 1933 Japan, found critical acclaim.
Blu-ray:
Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)
DVD:

Sword of the Beast

(1965)

The Criterion DVD Boxset has Sword of the Beast (1965) along with Samurai Spy (1965), Samurai Rebellion (1967) and Kill! (1968)

Goyokin (1969)

The Wolves (1971)

Onimasa: A Japanese Godfather (1982)

The Geisha (1983)

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Although Teruo Ishii has 94 directorial credits, and he worked in martial arts, Pinky violent films, science fiction, horror, erotica, and film noir, he is most known in the West for his extensive exploitive titled films such as Joys of Torture series (1968–1973), the Hot Springs Geisha series (1968–1972), Nude Actress Murder Case: Five Criminals (1957), and Shameless: Abnormal and Abusive Love (1969). His parents introduced him to foreign movies, with a leaning to French films in his youth and these had an impact on his future vocation. He considered his major mentor Mikio Naruse with whom he worked as assistant director. Three of his films has so far reached Blu-ray status thank to Arrow Films: Horrors of Malformed Men (1969), Yakuza Law, Orgies of Edo (1969) and Blind Woman's Curse (1970).

Horrors of Malformed Men (1969)

Yakuza Law (1969)

Orgies of Edo (1969)

Blind Woman's Curse

(1970)

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Kinji Fukasaku spent some of his youth watching foreign films. He was another director who initiated his craft in the Japanese New Wave and developed a style utilizing a cinema vérité-infused kinetic camera technique without steadiness modulations. He is best known to modern audiences for the dystopian thriller Battle Royale (2000) that spun off manga, anime, comics, visual novels, and video games. 30-years before he directed the Japanese segment of Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970) after Akira Kurosawa withdrew. However, Fukasaku has a rich history in the yakuza genre (Battles Without Honor and Humanity and its many sequels), samurai period pieces (Shogun's Samurai) as well as the US-Japanese co-production (shot in Japan with a Japanese film crew, but with a non-Japanese cast) of the science fiction co-production of The Green Slime - about an alien creature that survives on radiation reproducing asexually from its own blood supply.
Blu-ray:

Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973), Hiroshima Death Match (1973), Proxy War (1973), Police Tactics (1974), Final Episode (1974) and The Complete Saga (1980)

New Battles Without Honour and Humanity (1974), The Boss's Head (1975) and Last Days of the Boss (1976)

The Green Slime

(1968)

Battle Royale (2000)

Tora! Tora! Tora!

(1970)

Street Mobster (1972)

Doberman Cop

(1977)

           
DVD:

If You Were Young: Rage (1970)

Blackmail Is My Business (1968)

Under the Flag of the Rising Sun (1972)

Sympathy for the Underdog (1971)

Graveyard of Honor

(1975)

Legend of Eight Samurai (1983)

Yagyu Clan Conspiracy (1978)

Battle Royale II (2003)

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Outside of classic Naruse, Ozu, Kurosawa and Mizoguchi, Yoji Yamada is my main man in Japanese Cinema. I don't know any other director whose films have touched me as frequently or as deeply. He best known for the beloved Otoko wa Tsurai yo or "Tora-san" series - 48 installments released between 1969 and 1995, with all except episodes three (Azuma Morisaki) and four (Shun'ichi Kobayashi) directed by Yamada, who also wrote (or co-wrote) ALL the screenplays. He is also highly lauded for his 'Samurai Trilogy' (The Twilight Samurai, The Hidden Blade and Love and Honor). But it is films like Home from the Sea (1972), The Village (1975), My Sons (1991) and The Yellow Handkerchief (1977) are ones that I find essential. His movies have won the Best Picture award at the Japanese Academy Awards four times. Many of his greatest films are sadly under-represented in North American DVD and Blu-ray. Seek him out!!

Blu-ray:

The Twilight Samurai (2002)

The Yellow Handkerchief (1977)

DVD:
Home from the Sea (1972)

The Village

(1975)

A Distant Cry from Spring (1980)

Final Take: The Golden Age of Movies (1986)

My Sons (1991)

The Hidden Blade

(2004)

Tora-san: Our Lovable Tramp (1969), Tora-san's Cherished Mother (1969), Tora-san, His Tender Love (1970), and Tora-san's Grand Scheme (1970) Kabei: Our Mother (2008) Love and Honour (2006) A Distant Cry from Spring (1980), Home from the Sea (1972), The Village (1975), Final Take  (1986) and The Yellow Handkerchief (1977)

________________________________________________________________

Juzo Itami directed ten films, all of which he wrote himself. He acted in films such as Nicholas Ray's 55 Days at Peking playing Col. Shiba, Toshiya Fujita's Lady Snowblood (1973) and its sequel Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974) playing Ransui Tokunaga. and Kon Ichikawa's The Makioka Sisters as the father/husband. But it was his fun "noodle western" Tampopo, that garnered him international acclaim. In 1992, shortly after the release of his biting yakuza satire Minbō no Onna (The Gangster's Moll), Itami was physically attacked, a deep cut on his face and hospitalized by members of the yakuza clan Goto-gumi, who were enraged at Itami's disparaging take on their lifestyle. His death in late 1997 at age 64, reported as a suicide (jumping off his office building), now points to evidence that it was forced by the Goto-gumi gang.
Tampopo (1985)

________________________________________________________________

Hayao Miyazaki was pivotal in the evolution of modern animation films. His works are characterized by the recurring themes of youthful strength and flexibility, independence, a respect for nature, female empowerment, and rejection of violence. His unique approach encourages organic development of his stories forgoing traditional methods of detailed adherence to screenplays relying more on his production design storyboards to evolve the narrative. Miyazaki first worked with Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies) in 1964, which fostered a lifelong friendship and career collaboration. In June of 1985, Miyazaki, Takahata, and two others founded the animation production company Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki's films are some of the highest-grossing in Japanese history and have garnered numerous awards both domestically and internationally. His films are well-represented on Blu-ray.
Blu-ray:

The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

(1984)

Castle in the Sky

(1986)

My Neighbor Totoro

(1988)

Kiki's Delivery Service

(1989)

Porco Rosso (1992)

Princess Mononoke (1997)

Spirited Away (2001)

Howl's Moving Castle

(2004)

Ponyo

(2008)

The Wind Rises

(2013)

________________________________________________________________

Isao Takahata was a co-founder of iconic Studio Ghibli with his partner and friend Hayao Miyazaki along with two of Miyazaki's collaborators. Takahata earned international accolades for Grave of the Fireflies (1988), which firmly announced Studio Ghibli as a game-changing force in anime, Only Yesterday (1991) based on the 1982 manga of the same title, Pom Poko (1994) about a group of 'tanuki' (Japanese raccoon dogs) threatened by a very large suburban development project and the animated comedy film My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999). His last directed feature was The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013), which was nominated for an Oscar (Best Animated Feature), losing to Disney's 3D film Big Hero 6. Takahata's most acclaimed films are available on Blu-ray.
Blu-ray:
Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Only Yesterday (1991) Pom Poko (1994) My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999) The Tale of The Princess Kaguya (2013)

________________________________________________________________

Nobuhiko Obayashi has worked in many facets if the film and television mediums from director, screenwriter and editor of features, experimental film and TV commercials starting in the 60s. His defining signature is exporting surreal, interpretative, visuals. His work is rarely seen outside Japan, although the delirious horror-comedy House (Hausu) has developed a niche of interested fans with its exposure on Blu-ray. His 1998 film Sada was entered into the 48th Berlin International Film Festival. His 2017 film Hanagatami (Obayashi was 79), about the pureness of youth beset by the chaos of war, is on Amazon Prime.
House (1977) Sada (1998)

________________________________________________________________

Takeshi Kitano had studied to become an engineer, but was thrown out of University because of his less-studious care-free attitude. He became very popular on Japanese television as a comedian under the name "Beat" Takeshi, that he continues to use today as a performer. His first major film role was in Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. Kinji Fukasaku was originally scheduled to direct Violent Cop but pulled out. Kitano took his place heavily rewriting the script shifting the tone from a comedy to a serious crime-drama. Sonatine (1993) did poorly in Japan but it received positive reviews in Europe when it was shown at Cannes. It was when Hana-bi (Fireworks) won the Golden Lion in 1997 which really announced an acceptance of Kitano as a directorial force. In October 2017, Kitano completed his Outrage crime trilogy with the release of Outrage Coda. He is known for Yakuza-style films and a deadpan expression. His films are well-represented on Blu-ray:
Blu-ray:

Violent Cop (1989)

Violent Cop (1989), Boiling Point (1990) and Fireworks (1997)

A Scene at the Sea (1991)

Getting Any? (1994)

Kids Return (1996)

Fireworks (1997)

Kikujiro (1999)

Brother

(2000)

Dolls

(2002)

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003)

Takeshis' (2005)

The Outrage (2010)

Beyond Outrage (2012)

Outrage Coda (2017)

________________________________________________________________

The earlier work of Hirokazu Koreeda is characterized by timidity and tenderness, both in his in-depth psychographies as well as his narrative rhythms. Subtle hints, barely perceptible mood shifts and muted emotions combine to portray inner-states in desperate need for a language. Ordinary words often fail Koreeda's characters; their longing for grappling with their guilt and their memories (the main thematic axis of both Distance and Maborosi) shapes into an archetypical quest to understand life, co-existence and ultimately death itself. In the absence of suitable language, the films allow the characters to embody the graceful compositions, to project their confusion and yearning on the color palette and the soundtrack, the slow and meditative pacing and the absence of closeups. From the indirect and slowly shifting images of "Maborosi", to the immediacy of the loose framing and dynamic compositions of "Distance", to the inanimate objects-as-characters of "Nobody knows", Koreeda has become renowned for his films' sensitive and insightful humanity.
Blu-ray (NOTE: The Japanese (Amazon.jp) Blu-rays are Region FREE with English subtitles):

After Life (1998)

Air Doll (2009)

Still Walking (2008)

Our Little Sister

(2015)

The Third Murder

(2017)

Distance (2001)

Maborosi (1995)

Nobody Knows

(2004)

After the Storm

(2016)

I Wish (2011), After the Storm (2016) and Like Father, Like Son (2013)

Hana

(2006)

I Wish

(2011)

Like Father, Like Son (2013)

Shoplifters (2018)

   

________________________________________________________________

Shunji Iwai started his career by directing music videos and television dramas. He received attention for his short film "Uchiage hanabi, shita kara Miruka? Yoko kara Miruka?" (aka "Fireworks, Should We See It From The Side Or From The Bottom") in 1993. It was noted that his films showed a distinctive, under-played, visual style varying significantly from most modern films. His first feature, Love Letter (1995) with evocative winter cinematography, was a box-office smash which he followed it up with another success; Swallowtail Butterfly (1996) and the gentle April Story (1997). In 2001 he received acclaim for the harrowing High School drama All About Lily Chou-Chou. In 2004 Iwai released Hana & Alice, his first comedy and, as he had done previously, he composed the film score. In 2006 he directed the documentary The Kon Ichikawa Story. His early sensitive films often showed a feminine perspective that have helped establish a strong following especially with young women although his English-language film debut, Vampire (2011), was a 2-hour horror-thriller. His work continues to be very difficult to obtain on disc in the West.
Blu-ray:
Love Letter (1995) A Bride for Rip Van Winkle (2016)
DVD:

April Story (1997)

All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001)

Hana & Alice

(2004)

________________________________________________________________

Takashi Miike has directed over 100 feature films, video or television productions in over 25-years. He graduated from, founder and Dean, Shohei Imamura's YV School of Broadcast and Film. His films can reflect his dark sense of humor with shocking scenes of sexual deviance and extreme violence (2001's Ichi the Killer). Outside of the bizarre, sometimes represented with an immoderate burlesque-style, he has also shown to extend his range to more passive, family-oriented, dramas. He has found that frequently pushing-the-envelope of censorship gives an air of vérité realism to the yakuza and horror genre films that are identified as his niche. He has stated influences by directors Akira Kurosawa and Hideo Gosha with Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers as one of his favorite films.
Blu-ray:

Shinjuku Triad Society (1995), Rainy Dog (1997) and Ley Lines (1999)

Dead or Alive (1999), Dead or Alive 2: Tôbôsha (2000), and Dead or Alive: Final (2002)

Audition (1999)

The Happiness of the Katakuris (2001)

Ichi the Killer (2001)

Sukiyaki Western Django

(2007)

Crows Zero (2007)

Yatterman (2009)

13 Assassins (2010)

Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai

(2011)

Lesson of the Evil

(2012)

Ace Attorney (2012)

Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

Over Your Dead Body (2014)

Terra Formars (2016)

Blade of the Immortal (2017)

DVD:

Fudoh: The New Generation (1996)

Young Thugs: Innocent Blood (1997)

Young Thugs: Nostalgia (1998)

The Bird People in China

(1998)

The City of Lost Souls (2000)

Multiple Personality Detective Psycho - Kazuhiko Amamiya Returns (2000)

Deadly Outlaw: Rekka

(2002)

Three... Extremes (2004) (segment "Box")

Crows Zero (2007)

13 Assassins (2010)

________________________________________________________________

Shinya Tsukamoto began with a Super 8 camera in his early teens eventually evolving his own brand of cinema often described as cyberpunk (combination of lowlife and high tech) while showcasing graphic or psychologically disturbing violations of the human body. Themes include infidelity and liberating rage and he acts in almost all of his own films as well as bit parts in many other directors' films. His major film contributions include Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989) and Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992), Tokyo Fist (1995), Bullet Ballet (1998) and A Snake of June (2002) that have all reached Blu-ray for his loyal Cult following.
Blu-ray:

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (1989) + Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992)

Tokyo Fist (1995)

Bullet Ballet (1998)

A Snake of June

(2002)

Kotoko

(2011)

Fires on the Plain

(2014)

________________________________________________________________

Firstly, Kiyoshi Kurosawa is not related to director Akira Kurosawa. He is a professor at the Tokyo University of the Arts, screenwriter and film critic but is internationally known as a film director. Although he has worked in a variety of genres from black comedy (2003's Doppelganger), family films (Tokyo Sonata), romance (Journey to the Shore), paranormal (Séance), the 2012 five-part television drama-mystery Penance, philosophical drama (Charisma) and science fiction (Before We Vanish, Real) he is most well known for his 'one word title' thrillers and horrors such as, Cure (1997), Pulse (2001), and Creepy (2016). His directorial style has been compared to Stanley Kubrick and Andrei Tarkovsky with pivotal scenes occupied by open spaces with minor movement. Many of his films are shot in barren, abandoned, or underground spaces impaired with unkempt decomposition. It is both practical form a production standpoint and evokes a mysterious 'creepy' atmosphere.
Blu-ray:

Cure

(1997)

Pulse

(2001)

Penance

(2012)

Tokyo Sonata (2008)

Real

(2013)

Journey to the Shore

(2015)

Creepy

(2016)

Before We Vanish

(2017)

DVD:

Charisma (1999)

Séance (2000)

Bright Future (2002)

Doppelganger (2003)

________________________________________________________________

Some have dubbed provocative Sion Sono as "the most subversive filmmaker working in Japanese cinema today". He identifies himself as a filmmaker, author, and poet. His work is getting exposure in the West, notably his "Hate" trilogy of Love Exposure (2008), Cold Fish (2010) and Guilty of Romance (2011) which are all on English-friendly Blu-ray. In 2013 he directed the action-drama Why Don't You Play in Hell? based on a 15-year old screen play that he had penned. At TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) it won the People's Choice Award in the Midnight Madness section. He followed that with an adaptation of popular manga series Tokyo Tribe (2014), then TAG (2015) a suspense action horror art, feminist-leaning, film about a high school bus that has an odd accident with a lone survivor - it has been described as "grindhouse meets arthouse". Recently he has helmed an Amazon mini-series entitled Tokyo Vampire Hotel.
Blu-ray:

Love Exposure (2008)

Cold Fish (2010)

Guilty of Romance (2011)

Himizu

(2011)

The Land of Hope

(2012)

Why Don't You Play in Hell? (2013)

Tokyo Tribe (2014)

Love & Peace (2015)

TAG

(2015)

________________________________________________________________

 

The Japanese Cinema we most want released on Blu-ray:

 

1.

Number one, by a large margin, was Mikio Naruse's When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) - a delicate, devastating study of a woman, Keiko (played heartbreakingly by Hideko Takamine), who works as a bar hostess in Tokyo's very modern postwar Ginza district, who entertains businessmen after work. Sly, resourceful, but trapped, Keiko comes to embody the conflicts and struggles of a woman trying to establish her independence in a male-dominated society. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs shows the largely unsung yet widely beloved master Naruse at his most socially exacting and profoundly emotional. It may be the greatest film NOT to be on Blu-ray.

________________________________________________________________

2.

Number two on the most wanted on Blu-ray list is Kenji Mizoguchi's The 47 Ronin: Parts 1 and 2 - as Fred Camper describes: "Great narrative films, whether from Hollywood or France or Japan, are often searing because their visual style articulates the story's emotions, interpreting and intensifying the drama. The same may be said of Mizoguchi's 1941-'42 film, but individual characters' emotions are seldom as important as they are in other films. Mizoguchi uses few close-ups, and the camera never seems to encourage identification with a character's inner life. Instead Mizoguchi creates music in space through slow, deliberate, magisterial long takes. "

________________________________________________________________

3.

No, there isn't enough Kurosawa on Blu-ray - three titles were consistently mentioned in email; Red Beard (1965), Dersu Uzala (1975), and Dodesukaden (1970.)
A testament to the goodness of humankind, Akira Kurosawa's Red Beard (Akahige) chronicles the tumultuous relationship between an arrogant young doctor and a compassionate clinic director (Toshiro Mifune in his last role for Kurosawa)   In Kurosawa’s original script, Dersu suffers further changes, somewhat resembling those of Kanji Watanabe in Ikiru. The Siberian hunter not only has (like Kurosawa during this period) trouble with his eyes, he also becomes aware of his unavoidable death and is, like Watanabe, almost unmanned by it.   Various tales in the lives of Tokyo slum dwellers, including a mentally deficient young man obsessed with driving his own commuter trolley.

 

 

________________________________________________________________
 

4.

Hey! who said we are a bunch of arthouse snobs!... Ishiro Hondo's Matango (1963) and The Mysterians (1957) fans want, no - demand, these two masterworks make it to Blu-ray. Criterion - get off your ass!!

This twisted, surreal monster story is related in flashback by an asylum inmate, who tells of his horrific experiences as one of several castaways on a mist-shrouded tropical island. While the crew affect repairs to their yacht, the stranded passengers take refuge in a derelict ship overgrown with a strange variety of mushroom -- which seems to be the only available source of food on the island.

 

The title characters are from a planet that has been destroyed by nuclear bombs. After the Mysterians land on Earth they ask the Japanese for some land to settle and a few nubile women to propagate their race. Scientists are dubious about the intentions of these aliens and so an offensive is launched against them. An offensive that looks like it has no hope of success.

 

________________________________________________________________

5.

Yes, Hiroshi Inagaki's Chushingura (1962) is the same story as Kenji Mizoguchi's The 47 Ronin and centers on a powerful and ruthless feudal lord who battles a virtuous young noble Yuzo Kayama tricking him into committing Hara Kiri. Vengeance is meted out by Kayama's forty-seven samurai retainers. Only Hiroshi Inagaki's 1962 version matches the grandeur Mizoguchi's masterpiece. A glorious visual spectacle that must reach Blu-ray status.

________________________________________________________________


6.

Many films have drawn from classic Japanese theatrical forms, but none with such shocking cinematic effect as director Masahiro Shinoda's Double Suicide. In this striking adaptation of a Bunraku puppet play (featuring the music of famed composer Toru Takemitsu), a paper merchant sacrifices family, fortune, and ultimately life for his erotic obsession with a prostitute.

________________________________________________________________
 

7.

Devastating cinema. Mr. and Mrs. Shizuma and their niece Yasuko make their way through the ruins of Hiroshima, devastated by the atomic bomb. Five years later, Yasuko is living with her aunt and uncle, and her senile grandmother, in a village containing many survivors of the bombing. Yasuko does not appear to be affected, but the Shizumas are worried about her marriage prospects, fearing that she might succumb to radiation sickness at any time.

________________________________________________________________

8.

Teshigahara's debut feature, Pitfall [Otoshiana], was the first of his collaborations with novelist/playwright Kobo Abe and composer Toru Takemitsu. Beautifully filmed in an abandoned, postwar coal-mining town in Western Japan, it is part social-realist critique, part unsettling ghost fable. Examining themes of alienation, workers' rights, and identity, Teshigahara and Abe's exotically strange film evokes the cinema of Antonioni, Resnais, the writing of Kafka, Beckett, Carroll, and the French existentialists.

________________________________________________________________

9.

In the shady black markets and bombed-out hovels of post World War II Tokyo, a tough band of prostitutes eke out a dog-eat-dog existence, maintaining tenuous friendships and a semblance of order in a world of chaos. But when a renegade ex-soldier stumbles into their midst, lusts and loyalties clash, with tragic results. With Gate of Flesh, visionary director Seijun Suzuki delivers a whirlwind of social critique and pulp drama shot through with brilliant colors and raw emotions.

________________________________________________________________

 

10.

From Kinji Fukasaku the director celebrated for changing the face of Japanese action cinema, comes this pivotal crime drama. Stylish and hard-boiled, Sympathy for the Underdog stars Koji Tsuruta, one of Japan's seminal figures in the Yakuza genre, as Gunji, an aging Yakuza who is released from prison after ten years. Gunji lives by a code of honor that has no place among Tokyo's modern corporate gangs. He gets a new lease on life by reforming his former gang and taking over the whiskey trade on the island of Okinawa. But he is forced to make a final, fateful, bloody stand against the mainland gang that sent him to prison.

________________________________________________________________

11.

Perhaps, everything Yoji Yamada ever committed to film should already be on Blu-ray. In Home from the Sea (1972) a couple is struggling to make a living by transporting rocks in an old boat on its last legs. The beautifully observed story is set in and around Seto Inner Sea.

My Sons is not just good cinema folks but a magnificent product of a sensitive and insightful window on the dealing with advancing parental years and viewing perspectives from a protective son trying to do the right thing, another seeking his place in the world and a the father striving to maintain dignity and independence.

________________________________________________________________
 

12.

All About Lily Chou-Chou (2001) squeaked onto the most-wanted list - no surprise really - and I also wouldn't be shocked to find out that it IS on Blu-ray somewhere. Simple-, great stuff - it portrays the lives of 14-year-old students in Japan and the effect the enigmatic singer Lily Chou-Chou's music has on some of them.

________________________________________________________________

As voted by our FaceBook Group, Twitter Feed and in email:

(click covers or titles for more information)

TOP 10 Japanese Films:

1. Ikiru (1952) 2. Tokyo Story (1953) 3. Ugetsu monogatari (1953) 4. Seven Samurai (1954) 5. Kwaidan (1964)
6) Sansho the Baliff (1954) 7) Late Spring (1949) 8) When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960) 9) Rashomon (1950)

10. Onibaba

(1964)

 

________________________________________________________________

TOP 10 Blu-rays of Japanese Films:

1. Criterion's Seven Samurai (1954) 2. Criterion's Kwaidan (1964) 3. Criterion's Ugetsu monogatari (1953) 4. Criterion's Ikiru (1952) 5. Criterion's Woman in the Dunes (1964)
6) Criterion's High and Low (1963) 7) Criterion's Harakiri (1962) 8) Criterion's Godzilla (1954) 8) Criterion's Sansho the Baliff (1954)

10. Masters of Cinema's Onibaba

(1964)

 

________________________________________________________________

A FEW GREAT Blu-ray BOXSETS of Japanese Films:

 

The Shohei Imamura Masterpiece Collection

Eros + Massacre (1969), Heroic Purgatory (1970) and Coup D'Etat (1973)

The Human Condition Trilogy (Ningen no joken)

1959-1961

Yojimbo (1961) & Sanjuro (1962)

Lone Wolf and Cub - The Complete Babycart Series

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

Late Mizoguchi

Battles Without Honor and Humanity

New Battles Without Honour and Humanity

The Samurai: Trilogy

Takashi Miike's Black Society Trilogy

Family Values: Three Films by Hirokazu Kore-eda

TKO Collection - 3 Films by Takeshi Kitano

The Mizoguchi Collection

      

Lady Snowblood Stray Cat Rock Collection

Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years. Vol. 1 Seijun Rising: The Youth Movies

Seijun Suzuki: The Early Years Vol. 2 Border Crossings: The Crime and Action Movies

 Seijun Suzuki's The Taisho Trilogy

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys 2

Nikkatsu Diamond Guys

  

       
 

________________________________________________________________

 

Japanese Cinema Books:

 

Japanese Cinema
by Alistair Phillips and Julian Stringer
The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema
by Daisuke Miyao
A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History
by Donald Richie
Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema
by Jasper Sharp
What Is Japanese Cinema?: A History
by Yomota Inuhiko
A Dream of Resistance: The Cinema of Kobayashi Masaki
by Stephen Prince
Takashi Shimura: Chameleon of Japanese Cinema
by Scott Allen Nollen
The Aesthetics of Shadow: Lighting and Japanese Cinema
by Daisuke Miyao
Japanese Cinema Between Frames
by Laura Lee
Classical Japanese Cinema Revisited
by Catherine Russell
Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema (Asia-Pacific: Culture, Politics, and Society)
by Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto
A New History of Japanese Cinema: A Century of Narrative Film
by Isolde Standish
Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context
by Keiko I. McDonald
Women in Japanese Cinema: Alternative Perspectives
by Tamae Prindle
JAPANESE CINEMA ENCYCLOPEDIA: SEX FILMS
by Thomas Weisser and Yuko Mihara Weisser
Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to the Japanese New Wave Cinema
by David Desser
Japanese Cinema
by Stuart Galbraith IV
Making Icons: Repetition and the Female Image in Japanese Cinema,
by Jennifer Coates
The Cinema of Naruse Mikio: Women and Japanese Modernity
by Catherine Russell
Ozu's Anti-Cinema (Michigan Monograph Series in Japanese Studies)
by Kiju Yoshida
Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character
by Donald Richie
Kenji Mizoguchi and the Art of Japanese Cinema
by Tadao Sato 
Apocalypse Then: American and Japanese Atomic Cinema, 1951-1967
by Mike Bogue
Carnal Curses, Disfigured Dreams: Japanese Horror And Bizarre Cinema 1898-1949
by Kagami Jigoku Kobayashi
Cinema Anime: Critical Engagements with Japanese Animation
by Steven T. Brown
Guinea Pig: The Darker Side Of Japanese Cinema
by Fwah Storm
Deleuze, Japanese Cinema, and the Atom Bomb: The Spectre of Impossibility
by David Deamer
Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema
by Jasper Sharp
The History of Japanese Cinema
by Mr. Zang Shi
The Encyclopedia of Japanese Horror Films (National Cinemas)
by Salvador Jimenez Murguía

________________________________________________________________

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