Inspired by the recent Cannes Film Festival win of Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda's "Like Father, Like Son", we are compiling 30 of the best Japanese movies dealing with the coming-of-age theme! Think Billy Elliot, Pretty in Pink, Stand by MeStrayed, Dead Poets' Society and Good Will Hunting in different lights, settings, and circumstances and with English subtitles!

In a country where family dramas rule TV and plenty of exciting young talents, movies about the joy of growing up are meant to be celebrated. But some of the movies also deal with the dark side of society and of the family - bullying, incest, suicide, abandonment, and separation.

The aim is to compile a diverse list of not only critically acclaimed titles but also ordinary moviegoers' favorites. Part 1 after the jump!

Young, talented, charming, controversial, popular - just a few to describe our list of 30 hottest Japanese actresses today. While it took years and years before America's Oscar awards took notice of young Japanese talent in the person of Rinko Kikuchi (Babel), young actresses in Japan have been charming their way into the hearts of Japanese and worldwide audiences.

In our introduction (countdown) to the top 30 list, we're featuring four amazing actresses who are already household names in Japan. Get to know them and why they ought to be in the hot list!

We watched a lot of Japanese movies during 2012 and in reviewing the year, made some comparisons to previous years' best. Looking back, I fell in love with Villain, Phone Call to the Bar, Villon's Wife, 13 Assassins and Air Doll while Karen went gaga over Rebirth, The Borrower Arrietty, Dear Doctor and Confessions (which I also like a lot!). For this year, our choices are varied - a couple of drama, a horror-thriller, a light comedy, an anime, and a few coming of age. Before the Best 10 Japanese movies of 2012, here is our review of the year in Japanese movies.

A showcase for young Japanese talents: Some critics are saying 2012 is not a good year for Japanese movies, but we have to disagree. There are some very good movies which provided opportunities for young Japanese talents to shine - Shota Sometani in Himizu and Lesson of the Evil, Kento Hayashi in Blazing Famiglia, Kento Nagayama in The Cowards Who Looked Up to the Sky, Satoshi Tsumabuki and Junpei Mizobata in Fly with the Gold, Tori Matsuzaka in Tsunagu, Takeru Sato in Rurouni Kenshin just to name a few.

Part 3 of our countdown to the Top 10 Japanese movies of 2012 features an anime, a detective thriller, and two distinctly unique coming of age movies starring 2 of today's most promising actors with the same first names - Kento Nagayama and Kento Hayashi. Nagayama is the younger brother of Eita and just like his older brother, can act with passion and intensity. In The Cowards Who Looked Up to the Sky, he plays a lonely youth who had an affair with an older woman, which turned into something deeper, and ended in tragedy.

Kento Hayashi, from Lesson of the Evil, plays the son of a motorcycle gang leader who has grown old of his nasty ways in Blazing Famiglia. However, certain incident in the present compelled the father to go back to his group of gangsters to take revenge against an old rival.

As you may have guessed it already, the detective thriller is Ace Attorney, from Takashi Miike. Many have considered it a big success in adapting the highly entertaining Nintendo Game Boy video game "Gyakuten Saiban" into a live action movie. While the anime is Wolf Children which happens to be one of the most endearing anime to be released during the year. It features the voice of Aoi Miyazaki, Takao Osawa, Haru Kuroki and Shota Sometani, among others.

More of these films after the jump!

Part 2 of our countdown to the Top 10 Japanese movies of 2012 features two drama and a light comedy. These movies feature some of Japan's best-known actors. Kiki Kirin is already an icon in Japanese cinema - with countless movie roles to her credit and awards and accolades through the years. She is one of the leads in Chronicle of my Mother. Compared to her, Shota Sometani is just starting his acting career but is already considered one of today's most important young talents not only in Japan but in the international scene. One of his latest movies, Himizu - from famed director Sion Sono - is a hard-hitting look at the recent Japanese tsunami and nuclear disaster.

On the lighter side, Eita and Kenichi Matsuyama played train otaku (train enthusiasts) in Train Brain Express, the last movie helmed by Yoshimitsu Morita, who passed away last year. What makes them such amazing films? Get to know why after the jump!


Psycho Drama list of 100 favorite Japanese films through the years.