This is Psycho-Drama's first Top 10 countdown of the best Japanese movies for 2012. Looking back, we saw a lot of amazing (and not so amazing) movies for the last 12 months. 

While some of the movies may have been dated 2011, we refer to its international release date, hence some of them may have been shown in Japan last year. As with our past hitlist articles, we always go for the actors' spotlight - hence while we also praise the work of top Japanese filmmakers, we give highlights to young Japanese talents and their roles in these acclaimed movies.

In Part 1 of our countdown, we feature three amazing, yet completely different movies.

So here we go!

What makes a good actor? Is it the ability to transform into another character but at the same time, introduce his qualities as a person? Or is it more important to be able to touch others with his sincere and honest acting? Is it important to play different roles or stick to one type - a superhero or a romantic leading man? Perhaps it's a combination of these qualities? Heck, why do we have to make this difficult? 


In Part 2 of our 30 Hottest Japanese Actors, we're into the top 20 territories. These guys are already known in the biz and have worked with some of the best filmmakers today and made some fantastic films that both fans and critics enjoyed. However, fangirls may be surprised with the rankings - why is my idol ranked lower than someone who is known as a supporting actor? That's actually where the answer lies - we're listing actors, not stars, and that's a world of difference.

The top 20 right after the jump!

Let me clear one thing straight. We're not talking about idols or celebrities here. We're talking about young Japanese actors who have made some fantastic movies - and not just TV dramas. We are listing the EXACT OPPOSITE of this article:

If you're a fan or even a casual observer of Japanese pop culture, you've probably noticed an appreciation for the pretty, somewhat feminine look, including in its boy bands. It's confusing to some Americans, whose boy bands and young stars typically project masculinity or at least boyish charm. But just like Japan's female pop idols, Japanese men are revered for their good looks. [ source ]

But we can't deny that many of them are good looking. Some started their entertainment careers via auditions and joining variety shows too.


What separates the list from other hitlist boils down to acting talent. The kind of acting that win awards locally or in international film festivals. Getting directed by the most prolific Japanese filmmakers (read: Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Tetsuya Nakashima, Hirokazu Koreeda and Takashi Miike). Oh yes, the age limit is 33, because, in Japan, even a 32-year-old actor can play a high school student and get away with it!

I could probably go on and on, but you simply HAVE to see the list to understand what I mean...

What makes an amazing actor? What causes an ordinary moviegoer to become an ardent, hardcore fan? Are good looks enough in today's almost cutthroat competition to create the next great Japanese actor? Are talents really being recognized, and are fans mature enough to embrace the really talented ones? And the biggest question of all: who are the hottest, most talented young Japanese actors today?


It was exactly 5 years when I initiated the hitlist of the 50 hottest young actors, and now - the focus is on the Japanese movie scene. Why? Because the Japanese make some of the best movies in the world and all moviefans need to know these guys!

So let's see who made it to the final top 10 list after the jump!


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