film The Best Japanese Language Movies on Netflix  

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Japanese culture has long pervaded American mainstream cinema. It's not all Harijuku girls and anime, however. Some of the best Japanese language movies are on Netflix, and each category is even more exciting than the last. This list includes many thrilling, horrific and action packed Japanese movies, some of which have been remade as American hits like Ju-on: The Grudge.

 

For those of you with more high-brow tastes, Netflix Japanese movies include Kurosawa’s Kagemusha, as well as Departures, which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and indie film festival darling, Like Father Like Son. Some documentary films, like Jiro Dreams of Sushi, were produced in America, but carefully capture Japanese culture in their portrayal of what it's like to follow your dreams in Japan.

 

Though it hardly seems possible, there isn’t a single Godzilla movie on this list, but hopefully Netflix will add one someday! Feel free to add any movies that might be missing from this list, and be sure to vote up the best Japanese language films streaming on Netflix.

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Battle Royale Beat Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Kou Shibasaki 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

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Kagemusha Tatsuya Nakadai, Kenichi Hagiwara, Kaori Momoi Kagemusha is a 1980 film by Akira Kurosawa. In Japanese, kagemusha is a term used to denote a political decoy. It is set in the Sengoku period of Japanese history and tells the story of a ...more

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Jiro Dreams Of Sushi Jiro Dreams Of Sushi is a a 2011 documentary film directed by David Gelb. "An appetizing documentary in every sense, Jiro Dreams of Sushi follows 85-year-old master sushi chef Jiro Ono, ...more

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Ju-on: The Grudge Itou Misaki, Megumi Okina, Takashi Matsuyama 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

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13 Assassins Tsuyoshi Ihara, Kōji Yakusho, Goro Inagaki 13 Assassins is a 2010 Japanese jidaigeki film directed by Takashi Miike. The screenplay was written by Daisuke Tengan. The film is a remake of Eiichi Kudo’s 1963 black-and-white Japanese film ...more

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Ichi the Killer Shinya Tsukamoto, Tadanobu Asano, Susumu Terajima Ichi the Killer 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 ...more

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Departures Ryoko Hirosue, Masahiro Motoki, Kimiko Yo Departures is a 2008 Japanese drama film directed by Yōjirō Takita and starring Masahiro Motoki, Ryōko Hirosue, and Tsutomu Yamazaki. Loosely based on Coffinman, a memoir by Shinmon Aoki, the ...more

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Nobody Knows Ryo Kase, Susumu Terajima, Kenichi Endō Nobody Knows is a 2004 Japanese drama film based on the 1988 event known as the "Affair of the four abandoned children of Sugamo". The film is directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, and it ...more

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Beyond Outrage

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Battle Royale 2

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Outrage Beat Kitano, Eihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi Outrage is a 2010 crime drama film written and directed by Takeshi Kitano. "In a ruthless battle for power, several yakuza clans vie for the favor of their head family in the Japanese ...more

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Rodan Akihiko Hirata, Yumi Shirakawa, Kenji Sahara Rodan, released in Japan as Sora no Daikaijū Radon, is a 1956 Kaiju film produced by Toho Studios. It was the studio's first Kaiju movie filmed in color. It is one of a series of "giant ...more

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Like Father, Like Son Yōko Maki, Kirin Kiki, Masaharu Fukuyama Like Father, Like Son is a 2013 Japanese drama film directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. It was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Jury Prize and a ...more

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Ju-On 2

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I Wish Masami Nagasawa, Hiroshi Abe, Yoshio Harada I Wish is a 2011 Japanese film written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. This film stars real-life brothers Koki Maeda and Oshiro Maeda, along with veteran actress Kirin Kiki and actor Joe ...more

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When the Last Sword Is Drawn Miki Nakatani, Ryo Kase, Hideaki Ito Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial When the Last Sword Is Drawn is a 2003 Japanese movie directed by Yōjirō Takita loosely based on real historical events. When the Last Sword Is Drawn won the Best Film award at the 2004 Japanese ...more

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Like Someone In Love Ryo Kase, Denden, Rin Takanashi Like Someone in Love is a Japanese-language drama film written and directed by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, starring Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno and Ryō Kase. The French-Japanese ...more

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Sonatine Beat Kitano, Susumu Terajima, Ren Osugi Sonatine is a 1993 Japanese film directed by Takeshi Kitano. It won numerous awards and became one of Kitano's most successful and praised films, garnering him a sizable international fan base.

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Sadako

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The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness Yume to kyôki no ohkoku is a 2013 documentary film directed by Mami Sunada.

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Norwegian Wood Rinko Kikuchi, Kiko Mizuhara, Tetsuji Tamayama Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Norwegian Wood is a Japanese drama film directed by Tran Anh Hung, based on Haruki Murakami's novel of the same name. The film was released in Japan on 11 December 2010.

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1-Ichi Nao Ōmori, Chisato Amate, Chihara Junia 1-Ichi is a 2003 Japanese film directed by Masato Tanno.

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Reincarnation Hiromi Kurosawa, Shun Oguri, Karina Nose Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 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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Detective Bureau 2-3: Go to Hell Bastards

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Strange Circus Fujiko, Mai Takahashi, Masumi Miyazaki Strange Circus is a 2005 Japanese horror drama film written and directed by Sion Sono.

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Bleach the Movie: Hell Verse

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3 Seconds Before Explosion

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Picture Bride Toshiro Mifune, Tamlyn Tomita, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa Picture Bride is an American Japanese language 1995 feature-length independent film directed by Kayo Hatta from a screenplay she co-wrote with Mari Hatta, and co-produced by Diane Mei Lin Mark ...more

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Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale Vivian Hsu, Yuichi Kimura, Masanobu Ando Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale is a 2011 Taiwanese historical drama epic film directed by Wei Te-Sheng and produced by John Woo, based on the 1930 Wushe Incident in central Taiwan. The ...more