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Year By Year: Japan

By: Trolley Freak

My favourite Japanese film from each year from 1925 onwards with 5-Star rated films in bold. For certain years some choices aren’t particularly good (especially from the ’70’s) but this list will change the more films I see..

Related Lists:

Year By Year: Favourite Acting Performances
Year By Year: Favourites
Year By Year: France
Year By Year: Italy
Year By Year: Must-See Films
Year By Year: Science Fiction
Year By Year: Top 5 Films
Year By Year: Westerns
Year By Year: World Cinema

Rashomon

Rashômon (1950)

1925 The Song Of Home (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi)
1926 A Page Of Madness (Dir: Teinosuke Kinugasa)
1927
1928
1929 Tokyo March (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi) Runner-Up: Days Of Youth (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)

Tôkyô kôshinkyoku

Tokyo March (1929)

1930 I Flunked, But… (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: That Night’s Wife (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)
1931 Tokyo Chorus (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: Flunky, Work Hard! (Dir: Mikio Naruse)
1932 I Was Born, But… (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: No Blood Relation (Dir: Mikio Naruse)
1933 Passing Fancy (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: Japanese Girls At The Harbor (Dir: Hiroshi Shimizu)
1934 A Story Of Floating Weeds (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: Our Neighbor, Miss Yae (Dir: Yasujiro Shimazu)

I Was Born, But...

I Was Born, But… (1932)

1935 An Inn In Tokyo (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: Tange Sazen And The Pot Worth A Million Ryo (Dir: Sadao Yamanaka)
1936 The Only Son (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: Sisters Of The Gion (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi)
1937 Humanity And Paper Balloons (Dir: Sadao Yamanaka) Runner-Up: What Did The Lady Forget? (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)
1938 The Masseurs And A Woman (Dir: Hiroshi Shimizu)
1939 The Story Of The Last Chrysanthemum (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi)

Humanity And Paper Balloons

Humanity And Paper Balloons (1937)

1940 Traveling Actors (Dir: Mikio Naruse)
1941 Brothers And Sisters Of The Toda Family (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: Ornamental Hairpin (Dir: Hiroshi Shimizu)
1942 There Was A Father (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)
1943 Sanshiro Sugata (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1944 The Swordsman (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi) Runner-Up: The Most Beautiful (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)

Susumu Fujita

Sanshiro Sugata (1943)

1945 The Men Who Tread On The Tiger’s Tail (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: Sanshiro Sugata, Part Two (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1946 Five Women Around Utamaro (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi) Runner-Up: No Regrets For Our Youth (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1947 The Record Of A Tenement Gentleman (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: One Wonderful Sunday (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1948 Drunken Angel (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: A Hen In The Wind (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)
1949 Late Spring (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: Stray Dog (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)

Late Spring

Late Spring (1949)

1950 Rashômon (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: Portrait Of Madame Yuki (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi)
1951 Early Summer (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: The Idiot (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1952 The Life Of Oharu (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi) Runner-Up: Ikiru (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1953 Tokyo Story (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: Ugetsu (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi)
1954 Sansho The Bailiff (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi) Runner-Up: Seven Samurai (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)

Sansho the Bailiff

Sansho The Bailiff (1954)

1955 Floating Clouds (Dir: Mikio Naruse) Runner-Up: The Heart (Dir: Kon Ichikawa)
1956 Street Of Shame (Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi) Runner-Up: The Burmese Harp (Dir: Kon Ichikawa)
1957 Throne Of Blood (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: Tokyo Twilight (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)
1958 The Hidden Fortress (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: Equinox Flower (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)
1959 Floating Weeds (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu) Runner-Up: The Human Condition (Dir: Masaki Kobayashi)

Throne of Blood

Throne Of Blood (1957)

1960 The Naked Island (Dir: Kaneto Shindô) Runner-Up: The Bad Sleep Well (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1961 Yojimbo (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: The End Of Summer (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)
1962 Harakiri (Dir: Masaki Kobayashi) Runner-Up: An Autumn Afternoon (Dir: Yasujirô Ozu)
1963 High And Low (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: Alone On The Pacific (Dir: Kon Ichikawa)
1964 Yearning (Dir: Mikio Naruse) Runner-Up: Onibaba (Dir: Kaneto Shindô)

Harakiri

Harakiri (1962)

1965 A Fugitive From The Past (Dir: Tomu Uchida) Runner-Up: Red Beard (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1966 Red Angel (Dir: Yasuzo Masumura) Runner-Up: Irezumi (Dir: Yasuzo Masumura)
1967 Samurai Rebellion (Dir: Masaki Kobayashi) Runner-Up: Branded To Kill (Dir: Seijun Suzuki)
1968 Kuroneko (Dir: Kaneto Shindô)
1969 Blind Beast (Dir: Yasuzo Masumura) Runner-Up: Double Suicide (Dir: Masahiro Shinoda)

Samurai Rebellion

Samurai Rebellion (1967)

1970 Dodes’ka-den (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: Zatoichi 21: Zatoichi Goes To The Fire Festival (Dir: Kenji Misumi)
1971 Silence (Dir: Masahiro Shinoda)
1972 Hanzo The Razor: Sword Of Justice (Dir: Kenji Misumi)
1973 Sex And Fury (Dir: Noribumi Suzuki) Runner-Up: Hanzo The Razor: The Snare (Dir: Yasuzo Masumura)
1974 Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song Of Vengeance (Dir: Toshiya Fujita) Runner-Up: Hanzo The Razor: Who’s Got The Gold? (Dir: Yoshio Inoue)

Dodes'ka-den

Dodes’ka-den (1970)

1975 Dersu Uzala (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: Kenji Mizoguchi: The Life Of A Film Director (Dir: Kaneto Shindô)
1976 In The Realm Of The Senses (Dir: Nagisa Ôshima)
1977 House (Dir: Nobuhiko Obayashi)
1978 Double Suicide At Sonezaki (Dir: Yasuzo Masumura)
1979 Vengeance Is Mine (Dir: Shohei Imamura)

In the Realm of the Senses

In The Realm Of The Senses (1976)

Selected years from 1980 onwards:

1980 Kagemusha (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1983 Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Dir: Nagisa Ôshima)
1985 Ran (Dir: Akira Kurosawa) Runner-Up: Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (Dir: Paul Schrader)
1988 Grave Of The Fireflies (Dir: Isao Takahata) Runner-Up: My Neighbor Totoro (Dir: Hayao Miyazaki)
1990 Dreams (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1991 Rhapsody In August (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1993 Madadayo (Dir: Akira Kurosawa)
1995 Maborosi (Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda)
1997 Fireworks (Dir: Takeshi Kitano) Runner-Up: The Eel (Dir: Shôhei Imamura)
1999 Audition (Dir: Takashi Miike)
2006 Letters From Iwo Jima (Dir: Clint Eastwood)
2008 Love Exposure (Dir: Sion Sono)
2011 Guilty Of Romance (Dir: Sion Sono)

Ran

Ran (1985)

 

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