With one of the world's oldest and most sophisticated film industries, it's no wonder that Japanese films have received widespread recognition outside Japan. Japanese have received more Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film than any other Asian country. Akira Kurosawa, a Japanese known for films such as Seven Samurai, Rashomon, and The Hidden Fortress, is regarded as one of the most inventive directors. Even though Japanese cinema has a long and rich history, this list only includes award-winning films from the previous 20 years, present contemporary viewpoints on Japanese society that have struck a chord with worldwide critics and viewers.
1. Spirited Away
Spirited Away, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, has received high recognition from at least ten international organizations (including an Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003).
Departures earned Japan's first-ever Best Foreign Language Film at the 81st Academy Awards, the Grand Prix at the 32nd Montreal World Film Festival, and Best Asian Film at the 29th Hong Kong Film Awards. The story follows Daigo Kobayashi, a failing cellist who converts to mortuary work, a potentially lonely job in any country.
3. Like Father, Like Son
At birth, the children are exchanged, trying to rectify the error and the ensuing strife and confusion. This moving film elicits empathy for its central characters while also fostering conflict in our perceptions of good and evil, nature and nurture. Koreeda's eighth feature film earned the Rogers People's Choice Award at the 2013 Vancouver International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the 2013 San Sebastian International Film Festival, and the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
The film was screened in Un Certain Regard at the 69th Cannes Film Festival and won the Jury Prize. Hong Kong-based 11th Asian Film Awards honored Tadanobu Asano as the Best Actor.
5. Journey To The Shore
The film was named an effort in the Contemporary World Cinema section of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival and won the Un Certain Regard for Best Director at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
The film received the Golden Lion award at the 54th Venice International Film Festival, the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1998, and the Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics. The film is regarded as a pinnacle in Kitano's career, as it allowed him to obtain international recognition while also being taken more seriously as a filmmaker in Japan.
7. Nobody Knows
Yuya Yagira received the prize for Best Actor at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival as Akira, the film's role becomes the de-facto head of a home of four abandoned children. Koreeda was also nominated for Best Director at the Chicago International Picture Festival won Grand Prix for Best Film at the 31st Flanders International Film Festival in Belgium.
Rashomon won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1951 and received an Academy Honorary Award at the 24th Academy Awards as one of the finest films ever produced.
9. Gate Of Hell
Gate of Hell took home the grand prize at the 1954 Cannes Film Festival and a 1955 Academy Honorary Award for "Best Foreign Language Film. At the Locarno International Film Festival, it received the Golden Leopard.
10. Samurai, The legend Of Musashi
The movie is inspired by Eiji Yoshikawa's novel Musashi, published in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun from 1935 to 1939. It is the tale of Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary Japanese fighter. Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955) and Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956) were also made. At the 1955 Academy Awards, the film received a Special/Honorary Award for outstanding foreign language picture.