Subscription

Japanese Cinema

From the samurai thrillers of Kurosawa to Koreeda's beautiful domestic dramas, this collection celebrates the extraordinary diversity of Japanese cinema.

While little was known in the west until Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon won the Golden Lion at Venice in 1951, Japanese cinema is now regarded as one of the great canons of world film.

Read more Close
Subscribe to watch

Seven SamuraiSeven Samurai

Drama1954207 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Farmers hire a band of samurai to defend them against marauding bandits in Kurosawa’s influential epic, a touchstone for action movies ever since.

Subscribe to watch

Tony TakitaniTony Takitani

Drama200476 minsDirector: Jun Ichikawa

Award-winning film adapted from Haruki Murakami’s New Yorker tale of solitude and obsession.

Subscribe to watch

Throne of BloodThrone of Blood

Drama1957110 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

A master of period-drama, Kurosawa (Rashomon, Seven Samurai) recasts Macbeth as a Japanese warlord in one of the greatest Shakespearean adaptations

Leaving soon

When a Woman Ascends the StairsWhen a Woman Ascends the Stairs

1960111 minsDirector: Mikio Naruse

Mikio Naruse’s best-known film is a masterful study of a Ginza hostess struggling under constant pressures to compromise her honour.

Subscribe to watch

Red BeardRed Beard

Drama1965180 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Kurosawa’s episodic, poignant story of a 19th-century doctor (Toshiro Mifune) working in a clinic for the poor and his tumultuous friendship with a young intern.

Subscribe to watch

Sanshiro SugataSanshiro Sugata

Crime194379 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Kurosawa’s assured debut film about a young man’s spiritual journey through the study and practice of judo.

Leaving soon

Ring [Ringu]Ring [Ringu]

Horror199796 minsDirector: Hideo Nakata

A journalist sets out to uncover in urban legend about a supposedly cursed videotape, in Hideo Nakata's chilling and highly influential tale of technological terror.

Subscribe to watch

IkiruIkiru

Drama1952143 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

A bureaucrat’s life finds new meaning in Kurosawa’s classic original, the source for Bill Nighy’s brilliant drama, Living.

Subscribe to watch

After LifeAfter Life

Drama1998119 minsDirector: Hirokazu Koreeda

Koreeda's lyrical fantasy challenges the viewer to reflect on the experiences that most make life worth living.

Subscribe to watch

I Was Born, But...I Was Born, But...

Comedy193287 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Ozu's silent masterpiece follows two brothers as they try to outwit the local bully.

Subscribe to watch

Equinox FlowerEquinox Flower

Comedy1958118 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Ozu's deft comedy takes an ironic look at the decline of paternal authority.

Subscribe to watch

Still WalkingStill Walking

Drama2008115 minsDirector: Hirokazu Koreeda

Koreeda’s subtle, moving account of the tensions within a family is his most Ozu-like film.

Leaving soon

Battle RoyaleBattle Royale

Science Fiction2000114 minsDirector: Kenji Fukasaku

Before The Hunger Games there was Battle Royale, Kinji Fukasaku's magnificently twisted shocker in which tearaway teens are given three days to kill or be killed.

Subscribe to watch

Violent CopViolent Cop

Crime1989103 minsDirector: Takeshi Kitano

In his brutal directorial debut, ‘Beat' Takeshi Kitano plays a renegade cop who frequently resorts to violence and unethical methods to get results.

Subscribe to watch

SonatineSonatine

Crime199394 minsDirector: Takeshi Kitano

Takeshi Kitano's masterful and meditative gangster film, about a yakuza sent to the beautiful beaches of Okinawa where he has time to ruminate on his fate.

Subscribe to watch

Late SpringLate Spring

Drama1949108 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu's influential masterpiece is a tender meditation on family politics, sacrifice and the status quo.

Subscribe to watch

The Bad Sleep WellThe Bad Sleep Well

Crime1960151 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

The first film made by Akira Kurosawa's own production company is a dark tale of greed, corporate corruption and revenge.

Subscribe to watch

Boiling PointBoiling Point

Crime199097 minsDirector: Takeshi Kitano

A young baseball player becomes mixed up with a psychotic yakuza, in Takeshi Kitano's hilarious and twisted crime tale.

Subscribe to watch

RashomonRashomon

Crime195088 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Credited with bringing Japanese cinema to worldwide audiences, Akira Kurosawa’s breakthrough tells the story of a murder in the woods from four differing perspectives.

Subscribe to watch

Good MorningGood Morning

Comedy195994 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu's cheerful comedy about the silliness of everyday chatter.

Subscribe to watch

KwaidanKwaidan

Anthology1964183 minsDirector: Masaki Kobayashi

This stunningly beautiful anthology of Japanese ghost stories is one of the most meticulously crafted supernatural films ever made.

Leaving soon

Sanshiro Sugata part twoSanshiro Sugata part two

Crime194579 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

This sequel reunites most of the principal cast from the original and follows Sanshiro face a new set of enemies whilst continuing his quest to become a judo master.

Subscribe to watch

A Lonely Cow Weeps at DawnA Lonely Cow Weeps at Dawn

Drama200361 minsDirector: Daisuke Gotô

In this bizarre erotic family drama, a young widow pretends to be a cow for her senile father-in-law, who's a farmer.

Subscribe to watch

SanjuroSanjuro

Comedy196296 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

In Akira Kurosawa's comedy of manners, a ronin runs rings around nine young, clean-cut samurai while cleaning up a spot of corruption in local government.

Leaving soon

Floating CloudsFloating Clouds

Drama1955123 minsDirector: Mikio Naruse

Mikio Naruse’s masterpiece about a wandering woman trying to find her identity amid the devastation of post-war Japan.

Subscribe to watch

Early SummerEarly Summer

Drama1951125 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Ozu's wonderfully poised ensemble work presents the intricacies and contradictions of three generations who have lived through the end of an era and are looking towards the new.

Subscribe to watch

Late AutumnLate Autumn

Drama1960128 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Comedy turns to pathos in Yasujiro Ozu's tale of a group of businessmen who conspire to match-make for a widow and her daughter.

Subscribe to watch

An Autumn AfternoonAn Autumn Afternoon

Drama1962113 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Yasujiro Ozu's elegiac final film charts the inevitable eclipse of older generations by irreverent youth.

Leaving soon

PulsePulse

Horror2001119 minsDirector: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Kiyoshi Kurosawa's dark and apocalyptic J-Horror foretells how technology serves to isolate us as it grows more important to our lives.

Leaving soon

Late ChrysanthemumsLate Chrysanthemums

Drama1954101 minsDirector: Mikio Naruse

The story of four ageing geishas as they struggle to make ends meet in post-war Japan, from acclaimed filmmaker Mikio Naruse.

Subscribe to watch

Woman of the DunesWoman of the Dunes

Animation & Artists Moving Image1964147 minsDirector: Hiroshi Teshigahara

Hiroshi Teshigahara's mystifying, serene and provocative fable about an entomologist who becomes trapped in a young widow’s desert shack.

Subscribe to watch

Early SpringEarly Spring

Drama1956145 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

Shoji (Ryu Ikebe) and his wife Masako (Chikage Awashima), struggle with a family tragedy. When Shoji's interest turns to the office flirt, the couple's fragile peace is threatened.

Subscribe to watch

Mifune : The Last SamuraiMifune : The Last Samurai

Documentary201680 minsDirector: Steven Okazaki

The on and off-screen character of Toshiro Mifune, Japan’s first international movie star, is explored in this illuminating documentary exploring the life and legacy of this mercurial icon.

Subscribe to watch

Dragnet GirlDragnet Girl

Crime1933100 minsSilentDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

A seemingly ordinary typist moonlights as a fun-loving gangster's moll in one of Ozu's most enduring silent films.

Subscribe to watch

Tokyo StoryTokyo Story

Drama1953136 minsDirector: Yasujirō Ozu

A constant fixture in critics' polls, Yasujirō Ozu's most enduring masterpiece is a beautifully nuanced exploration of filial duty, expectation and regret.

Subscribe to watch

Stray DogStray Dog

Crime1949122 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s masterful mix of film noir and police thriller set on the sweltering mean streets of occupied Tokyo.

Subscribe to watch

High and LowHigh and Low

Crime1963143 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s procedural crime masterpiece, from Ed McBain’s gritty novel, follows an industrialist who faces an agonising choice as a result of a botched kidnapping by ruthless criminals.

Subscribe to watch

The Hidden FortressThe Hidden Fortress

Martial arts1958139 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s thrilling mix of fairy story and samurai movie - a story of rival clans, hidden gold and a princess in distress - was famously a key inspiration for George Lucas’ Star Wars.

Subscribe to watch

YojimboYojimbo

Crime1961111 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Kurosawa’s classic about a drifting samurai who plays two gangs off against each other, famously remade as A Fistful of Dollars.

Subscribe to watch

MaborosiMaborosi

Drama1995109 minsDirector: Hirokazu Koreeda

Koreeda’s first fiction feature is an exquisite meditation on loss, loneliness, uncertainty, and coming to terms with the past.

Subscribe to watch

Nobody KnowsNobody Knows

Drama2003141 minsDirector: Hirokazu Koreeda

Koreeda’s drama about four children left to fend for themselves is a heartbreaking study of childhood neglect.

Subscribe to watch

Orgies of EdoOrgies of Edo

Drama196994 minsDirector: Teruo Ishii

Teruo Ishii's landmark ‘ero-guro’ film tells three stories of moral sickness set during Japan’s prosperous Genroku era.

Leaving soon

Dodes'Ka-DenDodes'Ka-Den

Drama1970140 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s first colour film is an eccentric and joyous account of a group of disparate people living in a city dump.

Subscribe to watch

OnibabaOnibaba

Period drama1964102 minsDirector: Kaneto Shindo

Stylish, symbolic and erotically charged Japanese horror in which the fortunes of a murderous mother-and-daughter team are upended by a strangely masked samurai.

Subscribe to watch

A Snake of JuneA Snake of June

Drama200277 minsDirector: Shinya Tsukamoto

Bizarre and unsettling sex fantasy from Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo), about a woman blackmailed by a stranger into enacting his wildest fantasies.

Subscribe to watch

Drunken AngelDrunken Angel

Film noir194898 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Part gangster film, part melodrama and part social critique, Akira Kurosawa's first critical success follows the troubled friendship between a disillusioned doctor and a young yakuza.

More Japanese films on our Japan 2020 landing page