10 Best Japanese Movies of The 2000s Must See At Least Once

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The late 90s Japanese movie put them as one of the best foreign language movie production while Masayuki Suo’s Shall We Dance? became the highest-grossing Asian movie ever released in America. In this list, we are going to take a look at some the best Japanese movies 2000s has given. Here are “10 Best Japanese Movies of The 2000s” you must see at least once.

Best Japanese Movies

Top 10 Japanese Movies of The 2000s Must See At Least Once

#1.Battle Royale

Hollywood Director Quentin Tarantino made a video on 20 favorite movies of his where he also mentioned some of the Asian movies, and Battle Royale is one of those. The Sci-Fi dystopian thriller ‘Battle Royale‘ has become a cult classic over the year and also a sequel released in 2003 which didn’t work as the first one. Battle Royale has referenced several times in Hollywood movies and also an American TV Series is planned in 2012 but never happened. The movie follows a major recession in the nation, the Japanese government has passed the “BR Act” to control Japan’s disruptive youth. The film was re-released to theaters in 3D in Japan on November 20, 2010. There are few japanese movies like battle royale like its sequel Battle Royale II: Requiem but never achieved that quality storytelling and considered best modern japanese movies till date.
Japanese Title: Batoru Rowaiaru
Battle Royale Cast: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Takeshi Kitano
Battle Royale IMDB: 7.7/10
Battle Royale Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

#2.Spirited Away

The Japanese fantasy adventure anime film overtook Titanic in the Japanese box office to become the highest-grossing film in Japanese history with a ¥30.8 billion in its total box office run. Spirited Away received worldwide acclaim and is frequently ranked among the greatest animated films ever made surpassing several Disney and Pixar movies. Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards 2002.

Spirited Away is set around a 10-year-old Chihiro Ogino and her parents are traveling to their new home when her father takes an alternate route. They unknowingly enter different magical earth that Chihiro’s father insists to explore. Chihiro met a young boy Haku and discovers too late that her parents have turned into pigs and Chihiro is unable to cross the flooded river, becoming trapped in the fantasy world.
Japanese Title: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
Spirited Away Cast: Rumi Hiiragi, Miyu Irino
Spirited Away IMDB: 8.8/10
Spirited Away Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

#3.The Twilight Samurai

The Twilight Samurai was inspired by the Japanese author Shuhei Fujisawa’s short story “The Bamboo Sword”. Later director Yoji Yamada shaped into a trilogy, where other two movies The Hidden Blade and Love and Honour released with a gap of 2 years. The movie revolves around a man ‘Iguchi Seibei’ who becomes a widower dead due to TB. In Japanese, the word Seibei means a low-rank Samurai. Seibei works in the grain repository, accounting for stores inventory for the samurai sept where his colleagues mock him as Tasogare (Twilight).
Japanese Title: Twilight Seibei
The Twilight Samurai Cast: Hiroyuki Sanada, Rie Miyazawa
The Twilight Samurai IMDB: 8.1/10
The Twilight Samurai Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

#4.Mind Game

Mind Game is one of the finest japanese cinema 2000s has given and also traditionally based on a manga of the same name ‘Mind Game’. Mind Game is Masaaki Yuasa’s second movie noted as one of the best japanese directors if not the best. Masaaki Yuasa is known for his Netflix Anime show Devilman Crybaby (2018). Mind Game revolves around Nishi, a 20-year-old failure with an ambitious dream of becoming a manga artist.

One day, Nishi runs into his childhood crush, Myon, on the subway. Myon tells him that she is married now. Then we moved on to a flashback of exchanging love letters and texts with Myon and fantasizes declaring his love for Myon, but in reality, Nishi fails to actually say anything. That’s the premise of Mind Game it looks simple in its direction but the story is far ahead of its time for japanese cinema 2000s.
Mind Game Cast: Koji Imada, Sayaka Maeda
Mind Game IMDB: 7.9/10
Mind Game Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

#5.Moon and Cherry

This Japanese coming of age rom-com classic still don’t get that much of appreciation from the audience might be because of the adult sexual plot. Tsuki to Cherry follows an alluring young woman ‘Mayama’ joins an erotic sexual creative writing class, Mayama starts a game of sexual cat and mouse with a naive college guy. As they venture into a more and more unpredictable territory in their room, The guy starts to think Mayama might be using him as a test subject for her fiction story and not more than anything else. The movie is one of the most erotic japanese cinema 2000s among all releases. A Telugu movie “RX100” released in 2018 has a similar plot twist, which is actually based on a real event.
Japanese Title: Tsuki to Cherry
Moon and Cherry Cast: Noriko Eguchi, Tasuku Nagaoka
Moon and Cherry IMDB:6.5/10
Moon and Cherry Rotten Tomatoes Score: Not Rated

#6.Linda Linda Linda

Linda Linda Linda is about a group of schoolgirls have formed a musical band to perform at their high school cultural festival in three days’ time, but the guitarist and singer have left the band. Later, the remaining members Kei, Kyoko, and Nozomi asked the first girl that walks by, Son, an exchange student from Korea but not fluent in Japanese, and name their band Paranmaum. And how the band performs in the school is the rest of the story in a runtime of two hours.
Japanese Title: Linda Linda Linda
Linda Linda Linda Cast: Bae Doona, Aki Maeda
Linda Linda Linda IMDB: 7.6/10
Linda Linda Linda Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

#7.Love Exposure

In the seventh position in our list of “Best Japanese Movies of The 2000s”, Love Exposure initial version was more than 5 hours long but was cut at the order of the producers. Following its screening, it won 16 awards and garnered a positive response. The plot follows Yū Honda, a young teenage Catholic trying to live his life in a faithful and disciplined manner. His father, Tetsu, has become a devout Catholic priest in church following the death of his mother and run his own church. Yū’s father asks him to confess all his sins, but Yū believes that he is a sinless person, who has very little to confess. At first, Yū makes up sins, but his father sees right through him and Yū sets out to commit real sins for this he falls in with a controversial and doubtful crowd. Love Exposure is one of the bold in japanese cinema 2000s.
Japanese Title: Ai no mukidashi
Love Exposure Cast: Takahiro Nishijima, Hikari Mitsushima, Sakura Ando
Love Exposure IMDB: 8.1/10
Love Exposure Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

#8.Still Walking

Still Walking is an Independent Japanese movie which is written, directed and edited by Hirokazu Kore-eda. Still Walking is a portrait of a family over abruptly one day as they commemorate the death of the eldest son. Aruitemo Aruitemo was widely celebrated by critics and won the Golden Astor for Best Movie at the 2008 Mar del Plata International Film Festival recognized by PIAFF. This is the second movie in our list to have a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Still walking is an emotional journey with humor and nostalgic moments.
Japanese Title: Aruitemo Aruitemo
Still Walking Cast: Hiroshi Abe, Yui Natsukawa, You
Still Walking IMDB: 8/10
Still Walking Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

#9.United Red Army

United Red Army is narrated in three plots, beginning with a real event historical background of Japan’s student movement of the era from the 1960s to early 1970s, mostly using archive video footage and a voice over. The second act focuses on the formation of the group to their mountain training camps in the mountainside southern Japanese Alps.

It emphasizes the dogmatic and hypocritical bullying of the group by Mori and Nagata, with a dozen members being killed. The third and last act shows the splitting up of the groups after two members run away. Then follows one group of five people to Karuizawa and a hostage-taking and cop deadlock popularly known as the Asama-Sansō incident. United Red Army is one of the best japanese movies in drama genre based on a true event.
Japanese Title: Jitsuroku Rengōsekigun Asama-Sansō e no Dōtei
United Red Army Cast: Akie Namiki, Go Jibiki, Maki Sakai
United Red Army IMDB: 7.2/10
United Red Army Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%


Audition premiered, with a few other horror films in the Japanese language, at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) but it began to receive much more recognition when it was screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2000 and in March 2000 released in Japan Box Office. Audition is about a widower ‘Shigeharu Aoyama’ whose son suggests to find a new wife and move on. Aoyama approves and with a friend stages a phony audition to meet a potential new life partner. After interviewing a few women, Aoyama becomes interested in Asami who responds well to him, although as they begin to meet her dark past begins to distress their new relationship.
Japanese Title: Ōdishon
Audition Cast: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina
Audition IMDB: 7.1/10
Audition Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Here are 10 Best Japanese Movies of the 2000s That Every Movie Buff Need to Watch at least once. Please write in the comment section in which is the best japanese movies of the 2000s according to you that we missed in our list.

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