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The Most Terrifying Japanese Horror Movies of All Time 

Ranker Horror
Updated November 21, 2019 7.4k votes 1.6k voters 219.9k views 65 items

List Rules Japanese movies in the horror genre only

Are you wondering which Japanese horror films are considered the best by voters like you? Whether you're a huge fan of the Japanese horror movie genre or just beginning to dive into these creepy foreign films, this list (ranked by fans) will let you know which scary flicks are the most popular.

If your particular favorite Japanese horror movie is not at the top of the list, vote it up! Or, if you don’t see your favorite listed, go ahead and add it so that other lovers of Japanese scary movies can enjoy it as well.

Looking for a new scary movie that you haven’t seen yet? With this extensive list you are sure to find something new. Or maybe you're an old pro who wants to relive some of the best horror movie moments. No matter what, this list will help you find what you are looking for (as long as you're looking for awesomely terrifying movies).

Don't be afraid! Check out the list below to find out which fan favorites are considered the best Japanese horror movies.
 
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1
Ranker Video
2002

Actors: Itou Misaki, Megumi Okina, Takashi Matsuyama, Yui Ichikawa, Kanji Tsuda, + more

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu

Ju-on: The Grudge is a 2002 Japanese horror film written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. This film is the third installment in the Ju-on series and the first film to be theatrically released. ...more

More Ju-on: The Grudge 

#188 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #22 of 25 All The Brilliant Horror And Suspense Movie Homages In 'American Horror Story' #4 of 22 Horror Movies You Can't Even Finish Watching

2
Ranker Video
1998

Actors: Hiroyuki Sanada, Miki Nakatani, Yūko Takeuchi, Yutaka Matsushige, Nanako Matsushima, + more

Directed by: Hideo Nakata

Ring is a 1998 Japanese mystery thriller film directed by Hideo Nakata, adapted from the novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki, which in turn draws on the Japanese folk tale Banchō Sarayashiki. The ...more

More Ring 

#47 of 149 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time #6 of 22 Horror Movies You Can't Even Finish Watching #18 of 142 The Best Horror Movies of the 1990s

3
Ranker Video
1999

Actors: Eihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi, Ren Osugi, Jun Kunimura, Ryo Ishibashi, + more

Directed by: Takashi Miike

Audition is a 1999 Japanese psychological horror-drama film, directed by Takashi Miike and starring Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina. It is based on a Ryu Murakami novel of the same title, from a ...more

More Audition 

#306 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #79 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made #79 of 149 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

4
Ranker Video
2002

Actors: Asami Mizukawa, Fumiyo Kohinata, Hitomi Kuroki, Yu Tokui, Shigemitsu Ogi, + more

Directed by: Hideo Nakata

Dark Water is a 2002 Japanese horror film directed by Hideo Nakata, the director of Ring and Ring 2. Dark Water is based on Floating Water, a short story by Koji Suzuki. The plot follows a ...more

More Dark Water 

#61 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder #7 of 25 The Scariest Asian Horror Films of All Time #70 of 154 The Best Horror Movies of the 21st Century

5
Ranker Video
galenandrews added 2000

Actors: Beat Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Kou Shibasaki, Aki Maeda, Ai Maeda, + more

Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku

Battle Royale is a 2000 Japanese action thriller film adapted from the 1999 novel of the same name by Koushun Takami. It is the final film directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the screenplay written by ...more

More Battle Royale 

#1,445 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #1,169 of 1,211 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #419 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

6
Ranker Video
2003

Actors: Noriko Sakai, Yui Ichikawa, Ayumu Saito, Takako Fuji, Yuya Ozeki, + more

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu

Ju-on: The Grudge 2 is a 2003 Japanese horror film and the fourth installment in the Ju-on series. The film was written and directed by Takashi Shimizu. It was released in Japan on August 23, ...more
7
Ranker Video
Pulse 2001

Actors: Koyuki, Kōji Yakusho, Kumiko Aso, Haruhiko Katô

Directed by: Hiromi Kurosawa

Pulse, known in Japan as Kairo, is a 2001 Japanese horror film directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. The film is based on his novel of the same name. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard ...more

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#363 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #8 of 18 The Best Horror Movies About The Internet #16 of 16 The Greatest Horror Films Of The Last 40 Years With Virtually No Violence

8
Ranker Video
2004

Actors: Kou Shibasaki, Anna Nagata, Renji Ishibashi, Yutaka Matsushige, Shinichi Tsutsumi, + more

Directed by: Takashi Miike

One Missed Call is a 2003 Japanese horror film directed by Takashi Miike and written by Minako Daira. The film is based on the novel Chakushin Ari by Yasushi Akimoto. The plot revolves around ...more

More One Missed Call 

#392 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #92 of 128 The Best Horror Movie Franchises #388 of 509 The Scariest Movies Ever Made

9
Ranker Video
Suicide Club 2001

Actors: Kimiko Yo, Ryo Ishibashi, Akaji Maro, Rolly Teranishi, Masatoshi Nagase, + more

Directed by: Sion Sono

Suicide Club, known in Japan as Suicide Circle is a 2002 Japanese independent horror film that gained a considerable amount of notoriety in film festivals around the world for its controversial ...more
10
Ranker Video
NatashaIzlin added 2000

Actors: Chiaki Kuriyama, Takashi Matsuyama, Taro Suwa, Takako Fuji, Denden, + more

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu

Ju-on: The Curse, also known as simply Ju-on, is a 2000 Japanese V-Cinema horror film and the first installment in the Ju-on franchise, following two short films, Katasumi and 4444444444. The ...more

More Ju-on: The Curse 

#52 of 154 The Best Horror Movies of the 21st Century #296 of 511 The Scariest Movies Ever Made

11
Ranker Video
dafullclip added 2001

Actors: Shinya Tsukamoto, Tadanobu Asano, Susumu Terajima, Jun Kunimura, Alien Sun, + more

Directed by: Takashi Miike

This film is a 2001 Japanese film directed by Takashi Miike, written by Sakichi Sato, and based on Hideo Yamamoto's manga series of the same name. It portrays a story of feuding yakuza gangs ...more

More Ichi the Killer 

#71 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made #129 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #7 of 15 These Utterly Nasty Horror Films Are Sure To Make You Feel Queasy

12
Ranker Video
1999

Actors: Hiroyuki Sanada, Kyoko Fukada, Miki Nakatani, Masahiro Motoki, Yasutaka Tsutsui, + more

Directed by: Hideo Nakata

Ring 2, directed by Hideo Nakata, is the sequel to the Japanese horror film, Ring. Ring was originally a novel written by Koji Suzuki; its sequel, Rasen, was also adapted into a movie as the ...more
13
Ranker Video
2004

Actors: Bai Ling, Lee Byung-hun, Miriam Yeung, Yum Jung-ah, Tony Leung Ka-fai, + more

Directed by: Park Chan-wook, Fruit Chan, Takashi Miike

Three... Extremes is a 2004 international East Asian horror film collaboration consisting of three segments by three directors from three countries. It is a sequel to, and follows the concept of ...more

More Three... Extremes 

#12 of 15 15 Terrifying Anthology Horror Movies Perfect for a Halloween Binge #16 of 54 The Best Korean Horror Films #12 of 25 The Scariest Asian Horror Films of All Time

14
Ranker Video
2005

Actors: Hiromi Kurosawa, Shun Oguri, Karina Nose, Taro Suwa, Tetta Sugimoto, + more

Directed by: Takashi Shimizu

Reincarnation is a 2005 Japanese horror film, directed by Takashi Shimizu, of a hopeful actress who wins a role in a film that takes her, the cast and the crew to a hotel where the present soon ...more

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#10 of 25 The Scariest Asian Horror Films of All Time #33 of 36 The Best Reincarnation Movies

15
Ranker Video
2007

Actors: Saaya Irie, Miki Mizuno, Eriko Sato, Kaori Sakagami, Rie Kuwana, + more

Directed by: Kōji Shiraishi

Carved is a 2007 horror film written and directed by Kōji Shiraishi, and co-written by Naoyuki Yokota.

More Carved: The Slit Mouthed Woman 

#1 of 8 8 Creepy Urban Legends and Folktales That Inspired Foreign Horror Films #3 of 7 7 Creepy Japanese Urban Legends That Inspired Horror Films

16
Ranker Video
2004

Actors: Yōko Maki, Kōichi Satō, Shirô Sano, Mari Hoshino, Tae Kimura, + more

Directed by: Masayuki Ochiai

Infection is a 2004 Japanese horror film directed by Masayuki Ochiai, of a run-down hospital where a doctor's mistake unwittingly creates dark consequences for all. It was released as part of ...more

More Infection 

#80 of 111 The Best Movies About Disease Outbreaks #100 of 110 The Most Horrifying Found-Footage Movies #38 of 47 The Best Horror Movies About Virus Outbreaks

17
Ranker Video
1997

Actors: Kōji Yakusho, Ren Osugi, Masato Hagiwara, Denden, Yukijirô Hotaru, + more

Directed by: Hiromi Kurosawa

Cure is a 1997 Japanese thriller film directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, starring Koji Yakusho, Masato Hagiwara, Tsuyoshi Ujiki and Anna Nakagawa.

More Cure 

#15 of 15 Amazing Horror Films From The '90s Most People Overlooked #11 of 15 15 Critically Acclaimed Horror Movies That Never Got The Attention They Deserved #21 of 102 The Best Horror Movies of 1997

18
Ranker Video
galenandrews added 1977

Actors: Kimiko Ikegami, Haruko Wanibuchi, Yōko Minamida, Miki Jinbo, Kiyohiko Ozaki, + more

Directed by: Nobuhiko Obayashi

House is a 1977 Japanese horror film directed and produced by Nobuhiko Obayashi. The film stars mostly amateur actors with only Kimiko Ikegami and Yōko Minamida having any notable previous ...more

More House 

#383 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #14 of 15 Horror Movies That Keep You On The Edge Of Your Seat From Start To Finish, Ranked #41 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel

19
Ranker Video
galenandrews added 1989

Actors: Shinya Tsukamoto, Renji Ishibashi, Tomorowo Taguchi, Naomasa Musaka, Kei Fujiwara, + more

Directed by: Shinya Tsukamoto

Tetsuo: The Iron Man is a 1989 Japanese cyberpunk film by cult-film director Shinya Tsukamoto produced by Japan Home Video. It is an extremely graphic but also strikingly-filmed fantasy shot in ...more

More Tetsuo: The Iron Man 

#311 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #186 of 186 The Best Sci-Fi Movies of the 1980s #25 of 139 The Best Surrealism Movies

20
Ranker Video
1964

Actors: Nobuko Otowa, Taiji Tonoyama, Kei Sato, Jukichi Uno, Jitsuko Yoshimura, + more

Directed by: Kaneto Shindo

Onibaba is a 1964 Japanese historical drama horror film. It was written and directed by Kaneto Shindo. The film is set during a civil war in the fourteenth century. Nobuko Otowa and Jitsuko ...more
21
Ranker Video
abyx added 2000

Actors: Ren Osugi, Taro Suwa, Eun-Kyung Shin, Hinako Saeki, Masami Horiuchi, + more

Directed by: Higuchinsky

Uzumaki is a Japanese horror film directed by Higuchinsky. Uzumaki, released in 2000, is based on Junji Ito's episodic manga of the same name. The plot concerns a town infected with malevolent ...more
22
Ranker Video
2003

Actors: Renji Ishibashi, Show Aikawa, Shôhei Hino, Kimika Yoshino, Keiko Tomita, + more

Directed by: Takashi Miike

Gozu is a Japanese cult film directed by Takashi Miike and written by Sakichi Sato.

More Gozu 

#41 of 139 The Best Surrealism Movies #11 of 31 The Best Yakuza Movies #64 of 121 The Best R-Rated Japanese Movies

23
Ranker Video
RussellBrill added 2006

Actors: Billy Drago, Youki Kudoh, Toshie Negishi, Magy, Mame Yamada, + more

Directed by: Takashi Miike

An American journalist in 19th century Japan is hoping to find the love he left behind. His long search leads him to a dark island where the only sanctuary is a brothel. He ends up spending the ...more
24
Ranker Video
Spiral
25
Ranker Video
Ring O: Birthday