Ever since the rise of movies such as Train to Busan and Parasite, Korean movies have gained a lot of attention from the general public. With Asian media and entertainment rising higher and higher each day, why not get some more options? Japan is well-known for its animated and horror films, but fear not! They have something every K-Drama lover will be entertained by!
Here are 10 Japanese movies that are sure to be loved by any K-Drama fan!
Note: The Japanese titles are provided as sometimes they are easier to find with those titles rather than English.
1. One Week Friends (Isshūkan Furenzu)
Fujimiya Kaori (Kawaguchi Haruna) is always alone because all of her memories disappear every Monday. After deciding that he wants to be friends with her anyway, Hase Yuuki (Yamazaki Kento) tries to get close to Kaori each week, hoping that she can call him her friend one day.
2. Jinx!!! (Jinkusu!!!)
Yamaguchi Kaede (Shimizu Kurumi) and Nomura Yusuke (Yamazaki Kento) have feelings for each other but aren’t honest with their feelings. Yoon Ji Ho (T-ARA‘s Hyomin) is an exchange student from South Korea who becomes friends with Kaede and Yusuke. After noticing their feelings, she introduces a Korean-style romance to get them together.
3. Battle Royale (Batoru Rowaiaru)
A group of ninth-grade students from a Japanese high school has been forced to compete in a Battle Royale by the government. The students are taken to an abandoned island with a bag filled with a random weapon, some food rations, and water. The students have three days to kill each other until one is the winner, or they all die.
Warnings: Suicide, Extreme violence, Rated 18+
4. My Love Story!! (Ore Monogatari!!)
Goda Takeo (Suzuki Ryokei) is a freshman in high school who is approximately 265 pounds and 6’5″ tall. He spends his school days with his best friend, who is extremely popular with girls, Sunakawa Makoto (Sakaguchi Kentaro). One morning his life changes forever when, on the train to school, Takeo saves a girl, Yamato Rinko (Nagana Mei), from being sexually assaulted.
Warnings: Very brief sexual assault scene
5. Norwegian Wood (Noruwei no Mori)
Set in the 1960s, high school student Watanabe Toru (Matsuyama Kenichi) loses his only friend Kizuki (Kora Kengo), after he commits suicide. Toru, looking for a new start, goes to a university in Tokyo. Toru accidentally meets Kizuki’s ex-girlfriend, Naoko (Kikuchi Rinko), and they grow close through their loss. As Toru and Naoko grow even closer, Naoko’s feeling of loss also grows. After Naoko’s 20th birthday, she leaves for a sanitarium (a private hospital that treats chronic physical and psychological illnesses) in Kyoto. Toru, devastated, meets innocent Kobayashi Midori (Mizuhara Kiko).
Warnings: Suicide, Sexual Content, Rated 18+
6. Tomorrow I Will Date With Yesterday’s You (Boku wa Asu, Kinō no Kimi to Dēto Suru)
Minamiyama Takatoshi (Fukushi Sota) is an art major at a university in Kyoto. On the train to school, he sees Fukuju Emi (Komatsu Nana), falls in love with her at first sight, and gathers the courage to speak to her. They begin to date, but eventually, Emi tells him her secret, she moves backward through time.
7. Howl’s Moving Castle (Hauru no Ugoku Shiro)
A giant, steaming castle with legs is home to the wizard Howl (Takuya Kimura/Christian Bale), rumored to have immense magical power and a womanizer. Sophie Hatter (Baisho Chieko/Emily Mortimer/Jean Simmons), the daughter of a hatmaker in the nearby village, doesn’t expect much excitement in her future and works hard. Sophie’s life takes a turn when she is in danger, and Howl rescues her. Unfortunately, this causes the Witch of Waste (Akihiro Miwa/Lauren Bacall) to become jealous and put a curse on Sophie, turning her into an elderly woman. To try to return to normal, Sophie must accompany Howl in his living castle as a war begins.
Note: The Japanese version is, of course, available to watch, but many Americans grew up with the English dub, so it is usually more common.
8. Your Name. (Kimi no Na wa)
Miyamizu Mitsuha (Kamishiraishi Mone), a high school girl from the countryside, hopes to live as a boy in Tokyo in her next life. In the city, Tachibana Taki (Kamiki Ryunosuke) is a high school student juggling his part-time job and his dream of being an architect. One day, Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he wakes up in hers. In an attempt to solve this, they begin to search for each other.
9. Linda Linda Linda
Only three days before their high school festival, guitarist Kei (Yu Kashii), drummer Kyoko (Maeda Aki), and bassist Nozumi (Shiori Sekine) are forced to recruit a new lead vocalist for their band. They find Korean exchange student Son (Bae Doo Na), but her Japanese is quite rough. It’s a race to learn three songs before the festival!
10. Ring (Ringu)
Masami (Hitomi Sato) and Tomoko (Yuko Takeuchi) talk about a videotape recorded by a boy in Izu that is rumored to be cursed to kill the viewer seven days after watching it. Tomoko reveals that a week ago, she and three of her friends watched a weird tape and received a call after watching it. Tomoko goes downstairs, sees her TV turn on by itself, and is killed. Days later, Asakawa Reiko (Matsushima Nanako), a reporter investigating the video curse, discovers that her niece Tomoko and her friends mysteriously died at the same time on the same night. She also finds out that Masami went insane from witnessing Tomoko’s death and is put in a mental hospital. After finding Tomoko’s photos from the past week, Reiko discovers that the teenagers stayed at a rental cabin in Izu.