This list of the best documentaries about Japan has been ranked by the community and includes popular and recognizable titles, along with independent films. What is the best documentary about Japan? Vote up your favorites below.
As you vote, the order of the list will be changed to see which documentary about Japan comes out on top. If you do not see your favorite on the list, add it to the titles below so that others can vote on it, as well. This list currently includes documentary movies about Japanese history, culture, art, and food. So if you're curious about Japan, these docs are a great place to start, some of these documentaries are even available on Netflix.
Documentaries are nonfiction and made with the intention of displaying reality for historical purposes and to educate viewers. Most documentaries are driven by independent filmmakers and those passionate about the topics they are portraying.
Released: 2011Jiro Dreams Of Sushi is a a 2011 documentary film directed by David Gelb. "An appetizing... more on Wikipedia
The Great Happiness SpaceJake Clennell
Released: 2006The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief is a 2006 documentary film by Jake... more on Wikipedia
Released: 2011The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is a 2011 documentary film directed by Lucy Walker. The... more on Wikipedia
Actors: Kenzo Okuzaki
Released: 1987The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On is a 1987 Japanese war documentary film by director Kazuo... more on Wikipedia
Suicide Forest in Japan
Released: 1976God Speed You! Black Emperor is a 1976 Japanese black-and-white 16 mm documentary film, 90... more on Wikipedia
The Sword Maker
Released: 2006Fast Future Generation is a rockumentary DVD featuring Good Charlotte on tour in Japan. It was... more on Wikipedia
Dear PyongyangYang Yonghi
Released: 2006Dear Pyongyang is a documentary film by Zainichi Korean director Yang Yong-hi about her own... more on Wikipedia
A Normal Life: Chronicle of a Sumo Wrestler
Released: 1967A Man Vanishes is a 1967 Japanese film by director Shohei Imamura.
The Japanese Version
Released: 1965Tokyo Olympiad is a 1965 documentary film directed by Kon Ichikawa which documents the 1964... more on Wikipedia
Abduction: The Megumi Yokota StoryChris Sheridan, Patty Kim
Actors: Teruaki Masumoto
Released: 2006Abduction: The Megumi Yokota Story is an American documentary about Megumi Yokota, a Japanese... more on Wikipedia
Torn Memories of NanjingTamaki Matsuoka
Released: 2010Torn Memories of Nanjing is a 2009 Japanese documentary film directed by Japanese activist... more on Wikipedia
Released: 2012Pray for Japan is a 2012 Japanese documentary film about the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and... more on Wikipedia
ANPO: Art X WarLinda Hoaglund
Actors: Setsu Asakura, Hiroshi Nakamura, Miyako Ishiuchi, Tadanori Yokoo, Makoto Aida
Released: 2010ANPO: Art X War is a 2010 documentary film directed by Linda Hoaglund. The film traces the... more on Wikipedia
Minamata: The Victims and Their WorldNoriaki Tsuchimoto
Released: 1971Minamata: The Victims and Their World is a Japanese documentary made in 1971 by Noriaki... more on Wikipedia
Released: 2010Minka is a 2010 documentary film directed by Davina Pardo.
Interview with a Cannibal
Wine Road of the SamuraiEiji Sone
Actors: Shin Koyamada
Released: 2006Wine Road of The Samurai is a feature film based on a true story about a delegation of 34... more on Wikipedia
Rokkasho RhapsodyHitomi Kamanaka
Released: 2006Rokkasho Rhapsody is a Japanese documentary directed by Hitomi Kamanaka and released in 2006.... more on Wikipedia
A Trace of the Sun
Released: 2008Same Old Story: A Trip Back 20 Years is a 2008 Japanese documentary film about a Japanese... more on Wikipedia
Actors: Paul Watson
Released: 2008At the Edge of the World is a 2008 documentary film directed by Dan Stone.