Article: Top 10 Women-Centric Movies In Japanese

1. When A Woman Ascends The Stairs

The movie was released in 1960 and directed by Mikio Naruse, is about a young widow, Keiko, who is a hostess and plans on opening her bar. She has to juggle her responsibilities as an owner, a friend, a brother and other connections when she realizes that her lack of money has put her in deep trouble.  It shows how the different relations in a woman’s life impact her differently. The movie stars Hideko Takamine in the lead role.


2. Memories Of Matsuko

Memories of Matsuko is a 2006 released movie directed by Tetsuya Nakashima. It is the story of a young boy who finds out more about his estranged aunt Matsuko while cleaning her old room. This movie is in two parts, one part in the past showing Matsuko’s life and her memories. It shows how often the woman has trusted people, only to be let down by them. The second part shows the present, where her nephew learns how many challenges his aunt faced. The movie stars Miki Nakatani in the titular role.


3. Kamikaze Girls

Kamikaze Girls, released in May 2004, based on a light novel of the same name. The story is about two girls who are utterly different but overcome their differences and become best friends. A girly girl who loves fashion and a girl who is a gangster and part of a gang learn to help each other by using their respective strengths. This movie is an excellent example of female fraternity and acceptance of people different than you. The film stars Kyoko Fukada and Anna Tsuchiya in the lead roles.


4. Josee The Tiger And The Fish

The movie was released in 2020 by Kotaro Tamura. The story is about a young university student who starts taking care of a disabled girl Josee after being asked to by her grandmother. They soon become good friends, and Josee falls in love with him. Though animated, the movie shows how Josee feels strongly about her passions but doesn’t wish to be a burden on anyone. It features the talents of Taishi Nakagawa and Kaya Kiyohara.



5. Spirited Away

The movie was released in 2001 and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is an animated fantasy film. The story is about a young 10-year-old girl Chihiro Ogino who goes on magical and dangerous adventures when her parents stop for a break in their journey and somehow got turned into pigs. It shows how a young girl is thrust into a world different from hers needs to find strength and courage even though she is alone. It features Rumi Hiragi as the lead character. This film has also won an Academy Award.


6. Blue

Blue was a drama released in 2002 and directed by Hiroshi Ando. It is about two high school girls, Kayako Kirishima and Endo, who fall in love with each other. The two girls have to face odds to have their love accepted. The drama was a bold step in queer rights as it was released when LGBTQ+ was a foreign concept in conservative Japanese society. The drama features Mikako Ichikawa and Manami Konishi in the lead roles.


7. Dear Friends

The movie was released in 2007 and directed by Kazuyuki Morosawa. It is about a girl named Rina who claims she never wants friends and builds walls around herself. She is a party girl who has no empathy for her peers. It is when she has cancer detected that an old childhood friend reconnects with her. It is a movie that promotes female friendships and being vocal about your feelings. The film stars the work of Keiko Kitagawa as the protagonist.


8. Tampopo

The film was released in 1985 and directed by Juzo Itami. The movie is about a widow Tampopo who runs a noodle and broth shop with her son. After asking for a review from two truck drivers, who say that it is slightly plain, she asks them to teach her better. The movie shows that people should not shy away from asking for help and admit to their shortcomings. Tsutomu Yamazaki plays the lead role.


9. Girls In The Dark

The movie was released in 2017 and directed by Saiji Yakumo. It is also called Ankoku Joshi. It was based on a novel of the same name by Rikako Akiyoshi. The story starts with a girl dying under mysterious circumstances. Later, her literature club, headed by her best friend, tries to uncover this mystery. The movie stars Fumika Shimizu and Marie Iitoyo.


10. Kamome Diner

This film was released in 2006 and directed by Naoko Ogigami. The movie revolves around three Japanese women living in Helsinki and trying to establish a café there. It shows beautiful camaraderie forms and how a chance meeting between them develops into a lovely friendship. The movie stars Hairi Katagiri, Satomi Kobayashi, Tarja Markus and Masako Motai.