Comedy is one of the best ways to understand another country’s culture. Each country’s sense of humor is very different, and tells a lot about the place. If you want to gain a deeper understanding of Japanese humor, you should check out some Japanese comedy movies.
These are the best 10 Japanese comedy movies to watch in 2019.
10. 700 Days of Battle: Us vs the Police
The story is set in the 1970s. Countryside high school students play pranks on a police officer, who tries to get revenge on them in a childish way. The story is based on a very popular blog. A popular actor, Hayato Ichihara, plays the main character.
9. Sumo Do Sumo Don’t
In order to get school credit, the main character joins the sumo club and helps that club to win the match. However, when he joins, there is only one weird senior student in the club. They try to gather members, and manage to convince a fat otaku, the otaku’s thin little brother and a foreign Christian student to join. In their first match, they are completely defeated. After that, they start practicing seriously to win the next match. You can get a feel for Japan’s 90s sense of value and humor.
8. One Cut of the Dead
In 2018 this zombie comedy was a huge sensation in Japan. Even with a low budget and no famous actors, this movie spread across Japan because of the fantastic ideas behind it and the humor throughout. Check out the trailer and see what you think!
7. Water boys
This movie is about a boys high school synchronized swimming club. This is based on a true story. The main character, played by Satoshi Tsumabuki, started synchronized swimming and created a club. His friends joined the club, but all the members have never tried synchronized swimming before. So, aiming to perform in the school festival, they struggle to improve. It’s the best summer comedy movie.
6. The Family Game
This film focuses on a dysfunctional middle-class nuclear family. A private tutor who was hired for their son causes a disturbance in the family.
In 1983, Japan was in the post-high growth era. This home comedy movie describes family problems in a surrealistic way.
5. No More Cry
Written by famous comedy writer Kankuro Kudo, the main character is played by Sadao Abe, who is known as one of the best comedy actors in Japan.
This is the story of 2 brothers who grew up in different places and didn’t know each other for a long time. Even though they are siblings, their personalities are totally different. The various funny characters weave a warm human comedy.
4. Summer Time Machine Blues
This is a science fiction comedy for adolescents. Koumoto is a member of the college SF club, and they realise they are letting the days slip by. One summer day they find a time machine. So they go back to the day before and try to change the past. But changing the past is fraught with danger…
3. University of Laughs
The year is 1940, and Japan is at war. There was strict censorship for everything.
This is the story of Tsubaki (Goro Inagaki), a comedy writer, and Sakisaka (Yakusho Koji), a very strict censorship inspector. Each time Tsubaki brings his reworked play back, Saisaki finds some new problem and insists on another rewrite. At first, Tsubaki was against the changes, but he notices his script is gradually improving…
2. Shall we Dance?
This movie won the Japan Academy Film Prize in 1996, and was remade by Hollywood in 2004. Sugiyama is a typical middle-aged Japanese man. He bought a new house for his family and works very hard. He has an ordinary life with his wife and teenage daughter. One day while waiting for the train on the platform, he notices a woman standing alone in the window of a dance studio. A few days later, he gets off the train and walks into the studio, deciding to learn ballroom dancing.
1. The magic hour
Written by the king of Japanese comedy, writer Koki Mitani. A nervous gangster named Bingo slept with his Boss’ lover. The quick-thinking Bingo saves his hide by telling the boss he knows the legendary hitman, Dolle Togashi, whom the boss wants to meet. Then he hires Taiki Murata, a third-rate actor.
Bingo tricks him and tells him he wants him to act in a new movie, which is completely bogus.