After asking a number of artists that appear in our reviews and interviews, both in AMP and Asian Film Vault, to list their favorite movies of their country, we inaugurate a new column in Asian Movie Pulse, where we are going to present their selections.

The first “guest” of the column is no other than Toshiaki Toyoda, director of “Pornostar“,  “Blue Spring”, “Hanging Garden” and “9 Souls” among others.

Here are his top ten Japanese films, in random order.

1. The Man Who Stole the Sun (Kazuhiko Hasegawa, 1979)

A high school science teacher builds an atomic bomb and uses it to extort the nation, but cannot decide what he wants. Meanwhile, a determined cop is catching up to him, as is radiation poisoning.

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2. Knock Out (Junji Sakamoto, 1989)

A Japanese boxer stages a dramatic and dangerous comeback after suffering brain damage in the ring.

3. Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964)


An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.

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4. The Yakuza Papers (Kinji Fukasaku, 1973)

During the violent chaos of post-War Japanese black market, a young gangster called Shozo Hirono has to keep up with the rapid shifts of power between unscrupulous bosses.

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5. Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other…and him.

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6. Elegant Beast (Yuzo Kawashima, 1962)

A greedy, materialistic family attempts to cover-up the embezzlement committed by the son while keeping their other schemes active. They discover there are other, equally conniving players involved.

 7. The Blind Menace (Kazuo Mori, 1960)


Before he portrayed the legendary blind swordsman, Zatoichi, Shintaro Katsu played Suganoichi, a blind court masseur with a dark side. An outcast since birth, he learned from a young age that the only way to get ahead was to take advantage of others. Now an expert con-artist with a heart of coal, Suganoichi is on a vile quest for power, and everyone else will suffer along the way!

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8. Nausikaa of the Valley of the Wind (Hayao Miyazaki, 1984)

Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

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9. Humanity and Paper Balloons (Sadao Yamanaka, 1937)

The lives of two slum neighbors, one of a happy-go-lucky gambler and the other of a poor ronin, converge when the two get involved with the affairs of a powerful samurai official and his gangsters.

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10. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Nagisa Osima, 1983)

During WWII, a British colonel tries to bridge the cultural divides between a British POW and the Japanese camp commander in order to avoid bloodshed.

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My name is Panos Kotzathanasis and I am Greek. Being a fan of Asian cinema and especially of Chinese kung fu and Japanese samurai movies since I was a little kid, I cultivated that love during my adolescence, to extend to the whole of SE Asia. Starting from my own blog in Greek, I then moved on to write for some of the major publications in Greece, and in a number of websites dealing with (Asian) cinema, such as Taste of Cinema, Hancinema, EasternKicks, Chinese Policy Institute, and of course, Asian Movie Pulse. in which I still continue to contribute. In the beginning of 2017, I launched my own website, Asian Film Vault, which I merged in 2018 with Asian Movie Pulse, creating the most complete website about the Asian movie industry, as it deals with almost every country from East and South Asia, and definitely all genres. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.