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Look Back at 2021 in Films Featured on JAPAN Forward

Feeling nostalgic about 2021? We have just the film list for you to relive the year in some great movies that came out of Japan.




2021 threw the world many curveballs with the continuing pandemic. But in many parts of the world people were able to go back to the cinemas, and for those staying home, enjoy streaming films more than ever.

Here is a selection of the films we featured on JAPAN Forward in 2021. Relive this year by sitting back, and enjoying a good film!

  1. Fukushima 50”: Timed for the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake 

The plot centers around 50 employees at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant who were among hundreds who risked their lives to prevent a complete meltdown of the nuclear reactors.


The 20-year-old saga’s Last Film Was Welcomed with a Standing Ovation The fans could finally see the end of Evangelion, and the satisfaction was worth waiting for 8 years.

  1.   “Ruroni Kenshin”: As the saga Reached Its 10 year-climax 

A decade and five films later, the wandering swordsman’s tale came to an end as Kenshin faced the ghosts of his past and his most fearsome enemy yet.Fans cried with emotion as the last film of the saga was released.

  1.  “Godzilla vs. Kong”: The 2021 take on a classic

Japanese actor Shun Oguri talked of his experience in his Hollywood debut. In the latest adventure, Godzilla finally confronts King Kong, the monster king of Hollywood, but in the process unexpected enemies also make an appearance.

  1. BELLE”: Mamoru Hosoda’s Ninth Anime Film 

This is a film that charmed the world. “What brings the whole film together is the sheer appeal of Suzu, the imperfect, shy, freckled girl next door, who through the movie manages to find her own voice,” reads our review.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi, winner of the award for best screenplay for the film 'Drive My Car' poses for photographers during the awards ceremony at the 74th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, July 17, 2021. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
  1.  “Drive My Car”: Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Film

The film is based on a Haruki Murakami short novel. Hamaguchi is a rising star in the world of Japanese cinema, and has won accolades in all three major European film festivals, namely Cannes, Berlin and Venice.

  1.   “The Witches of the Orient”: A Volleyball Themed Documentary 

Perfectly timed for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. In 1964, not only did Japan’s women’s volleyball team beat the Soviets under the gaze of then-Crown Princess Michiko, they also set off a multi-decade boom in the sport.

Studio Ghibli's 'Earwig and the Witch'
  1.  “Earwig and the Witch” Studio Ghibli’s First Ever Computer Graphic Film 

Studio Ghibli film director Goro Miyazaki explores the world of children in his unconventional new film, inviting us to “see their world, what they want to be, and how they can make it happen.”

  1. Minamata”: a Johnny Depp Film

Aileen Smith Shared Her Experience Working with Photographer Eugene Smith, and on the Recent Johnny Depp Film“The mercury poisoning in Minamata affected even children, and resulted in congenital cases. “It’s not like they ate the fish. It penetrated through the placenta,” said the author.

Scenes from the documentary "Lamafa," featuring a small Indonesian village where whales are still hunted using ancient methods
  1.  “Lamafa: The Last Whale Hunters

The Documentary won an international film award, and was called ‘More than a Whaling Movie’. Japanese Director Bon Ishikawa’s Portrayal of Indonesian Whaling Village won the International Film Award, Extended Screenings, and was rewarded for its work of several decades of filming and editing.

Did we miss your favorite movie out of Japan in 2021? Let us know in the comment section if you’d like to share your own 2021 recommendation

Author: JAPAN Forward

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