Real-world romance might be on the decline throughout the globe, but there are still plenty of Japanese romance movies out there. Whatever the situation that would make you require to watch a romantic film, you will find one to keep you entertained. Whether you are trying to get over a breakup, headed out on a romantic dinner, or celebrating your anniversary, check out this list of japan love movies and settle for one. You will love the fact that Japan doesn’t have one type of video; there are live-action, quirky stories, and animations. We have attempted to consider diversity in terms of the films’ release dates. So, we have the most recent movies as well as the classic ones.
1. I Give My First Love to You
Although the title seems pretty descriptive, there is a lot to enjoy from the movie that doesn’t feature on the title. Based on the storyline and acting prowess, the film could easily pass as the best Japanese romance movie. The story starts with youthful romance from the two star-crossed lovers that are joined by the most unexpected thing – heart condition. The protagonists are Takuma and Mayu. Takuma has heart disease, and Mayu is his cardiologist’s daughter. Because of Takuma’s regular checkups, the two form a bond since they are always together. A friendship that starts when they are eight years old blossoms into a beautiful love relationship. The catch is that Takuma’s condition might not allow him to live past age 20. I don’t want to spoil ‘I Give My First Love to You’ for you, but I assure you that ‘I Give My First Love to You’ is an emotional film with tear-jerking instances.
2. Whisper of the Heart
‘A less-known studio, Ghibil classic produce whisper of the Heart,’ but the film is extraordinary. It tells a story of the pure and touching youthful love. The romantic Japanese movie features two protagonists, Seiji and Shizuku. Seiji is a budding writer while the lover is a violin maker. The love birds meet in the most delightful way possible. They were in a library, and after realizing they are checking out the same books, they both develop a soft spot for each other. What sets a ‘romantic Japanese movie’ from other regular romantic film is the evident humanity that is displayed throughout the film. Both protagonists are artists in some form, and the film weaves the innocence of childhood with lots of creativity.
3. My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday
Just like the title suggests, the romantic film is set with the theme of time travel. The 20-year-old Takatoshi meets Emi on a train and falls in love immediately. Over time, Takashoshi notices some discrepancies with Emi. She seems to predict the future a lot. The reason for this is that Emi is traveling back in time. Therefore, the love birds are living in a reversed time frame because Emi’s tomorrow Takatoshi’s yesterday. The film teaches us that there is always a “last tomorrow” and a “first yesterday.” It takes a fresh twist from the typical Asian love films we are accustomed to. We are left with the tear-jerking question, “What if tomorrow was the last day you would see your lover?”.
It is based on the popular series known as manga. ‘Orange’ features a 16-year old teen called Naho Takamiya, who is the film’s protagonist. Something strange happens when Naho starts receiving letters from her future self, and they shape her interactions with classmates and friends. You can expect to see some features of time travel, transfer students from Tokyo, and elements of fantasy. ‘Orange’ creates a familiar territory for anybody interested in romantic fantasies.
5. Heavenly Forest
‘Heavenly Forest’ is adapted from the famous novel with the same title. The movie looks a lot like romance but from an artistic angle. It revolves around a college student called Makoto and his relationship with two ladies: Miyuki and Shizuru. The film has the elements of a meditative romance but presents it through the angle of meaningful happiness instead of melancholy. Also, Makoto is a photographer that enjoys practicing his craft through idyllic settings, implying that the movie contains sufficient footage of Japan’s remarkable scenery. In case you are looking for a film with nostalgia and incredible scenes, ‘Heavenly Forest’ is your best bet.
6. My Girlfriend Is a Cyborg
Well, the film features a guy whose girlfriend is …a cyborg. While this might sound like an underwhelming premise, the movie has so much to offer beyond its title. On his 20th birthday, the protagonist, Jiro Kitamura, notices a cute lady in a mall. Both parties take an interest in each other, but later, he realizes that the lady is a cyborg. There is also a captivating backstory involved that we won’t reveal. However, you can expect some time travel that makes the story excellent. The result is a heartwarming story that touches not only on love but also on what it takes to be human.
7. Your Name
The film is Japan’s fourth-largest grossing movie of all time. ‘Your Name’ has grown to become a cultural phenomenon that is inspired by a matchmaking event. The plot feels pretty simple; from stirring a girl from rural Japan that swaps bodies with a boy in Tokyo. Although there is a separation of space and time, they grow to develop a unique connection. You are probably wondering whether there is more to the body-swapping and high school kids’ shenanigans. Well, there is. It was directed by Makoto Sinkai, and it offers a visual appeal of Japan’s landscape and social realities. Besides the youth drama, you will also enjoy the stunning highlights of the depiction of trauma left from the Tsunami and 2011 Tohoku earthquake.
8. Norwegian Wood
The romantic Japanese movie is the adaptation of a famous film bearing the same name. ‘Norwegian Wood’ is set in the 1960s Japan and explores the life of a college student, Toru Watanabe, especially how he relates with two women; Midori and Naoko. In the process, it provides a stirring meditation on the budding romance, loss, and youth. If you are looking for something to spark meaningful conversations with a partner or process a breakup, ‘the Norwegian Wood’ could help. In case you love investing emotionally in a movie, we recommend that you read the book either before or right after watching the film. It is terrific as a standalone piece, but not as great as getting the written form too.
9. Wolf Girl and Black Prince
It was one of the most anticipated Japanese love movies, and it’s clear why. ‘Wolf Girl and Black Prince’ was adapted for the big screen and did terrific in theaters. The cast included Kento Yamazaki as the sadistic prince and Fumi Nikaido as the 16-year old protagonist. Seeing the two superb actors work together was amazing. Nikaido displays excellent acting skills, and so does Kento. While the cinematography isn’t perfect if you love movies, you will agree that the film is worth watching.
10. One Week Friends
‘One Week Friends’ is based on a manga, and while its title is quite descriptive, the film has a lot more to offer beyond the title. The film’s main characters are two high school students; Kaori Fujiyama and Yuki Hase. Yuki meets Kaori unexpectedly and befriends her. Unfortunately, one week later, they meet again, and Kaori doesn’t remember him. Yuki finds out that Kaori has amnesia that wipes away all memories of everyone else besides the parents. Everyone else’s face is suppressed within a week. Nonetheless, Yuki decides to keep befriending Kaori because he is in love. Since this is a romantic movie, I bet you can guess what happens from there onwards.
11. Our Meal for Tomorrow
There are only a few movies like ‘Our Meal for Tomorrow.’ What makes this film special is the virtue that the girl is the one who notices the guy, and she takes the first step of approaching and asking him out. We get to see Ryota and Koharu mature over seven years. During this period, they explore traumas and dreams together. Instead of expecting comfort from Ryota, Koharu also makes an effort to build relationships. They both grow to the point of sharing their fears, joys, and experiences. In a country where love seems to be one-sides, we need such films to remind us that both genders have equal responsibilities towards building lasting relations.
12. Crying Out For Love in the Center of the World
The film can easily pass for the best Japanese romance movie because of the fantastic storyline. It is one of Japan’s melodrama and is based on a novel known as “Socrates in Love,” which sold more copied than “Norwegian Wood” in Japan. The story goes that the main character, a man known as Sakutaro, is left by his fiancé. After the incidence, he goes back to his hometown and spends time listening to some audio tapes, hoping that they will remind him of his old flame. We will not give too much information, but several flashbacks explain the protagonist’s story. Along the way, you will be treated with dreams of living overseas and cancer tragedy.
Besides being a fantastic Japanese movie, ‘Jinx!!!’ offers lots of light entertainment that will keep you glued to the screen. You might also enjoy understanding the sociological environment of Japan because it is played by the nation’s characters. In this film, Hyomin’s character teaches her Japanese classmates how to enjoy romance in the Korean way. She meant to show her friends to be more assertive than they were. It turns out that Japanese ladies are known to play hard to get while the guys… You will have to watch ‘Jinx!!!’ to understand these dynamics.
14. The Liar and His Lover
Are you craving more musical love in your life? ‘The Liar and His Lover’ has got you covered. The live-action Japanese love movie is based on a manga that bears the same name. There is also a K-drama based on the same script. The film features a successful musician known as Aki Ogasawara, who uses his songs to convey vital messages. He meets Riko Koeda, a high school student with amazing vocals. Aki is involved with Riko but isn’t sincere about his identity. As the duo grows closer, Aki is confronted by his actions.
15. From Me to You
It is one of the best Japanese romantic movies whose plot references a popular Japanese horror movie: ‘The Ring.’ However, don’t shy away from watching ‘From Me to you’ because it isn’t scary at all. Instead, the main character, Sawako Kuronima, is disadvantaged by having a funny name that sounds like “Sadako.” The result is that her classmates make fun of her name, except one boy – Shota Kazehaya. Sawako is touched by Shota’s kindness and starts getting closer to him. The film does an incredible job of showing the characters’ emotions and how they mature with time. If you are looking for an easy Japanese romantic movie, you should consider this one.
16. The 100th Love with You
If you want musical romance, you should consider, ‘The 100th Love with You.’ The movie stars Miwa, who is a singer and Kentaro, who is a model. They are college classmates and go by the character names; Aoi and Riko. The duo plays together in a band. One day as they are preparing for a performance, Riku reveals that he has the power to travel in time. The revelation kicks off an amazing romance that could have an expiry date.
17. 1,778 Stories for Me and My Wife
The romantic Japanese movie is based on the true story of sci-fi writer, Tayu MAyumura and his wife. When Tayu’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, he decided to write her a story every day to cheer her up. Eventually, he had written 1,778 stories before her passing on. If you would like to indulge in a touching love story that will teach you about persistence in love, ‘1,778 Stories for Me and My Wife’ should be at the top of your list.