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

Hula Girls (Hula garu) launched the career of Yu Aoi, one of Japan's best young actresses. With her good looks, brilliant acting and her amazing dance moves, Aoi clearly establishes herself as a dramatic actress, and Hula Girls gave her the opportunity to make a mark in the Japanese movie scene.

Yasuko Matsuyuki also performed one of her best roles as Aoi's dance teacher and has won acting awards for this movie.

What the Movie is all about: As the Korean War draws to a close and the pressing demand for copious amounts of coal takes a sudden plunge, the remote Japanese mining town of Joban attempts to compensate for the devastating economic blow by transforming itself into a lavish Hawaiian retreat in an affectionate comedy inspired by real events and directed by Lee Sang-il. The year s 1965 and the changes that have swept through the outside world are finally reaching Joban. As the mineworkers are laid off, and the women of the town take it upon themselves to gently nudge their once-prosperous community from the brink of economic collapse, the ancient Hawaiian art of the hula dance seems to offer the ideal means of doing so. Though highly fashionable Tokyo urbanite Madoka Hirayama (Yasuko Matsuyuki) at first seems terribly out of place when she arrives in Joban to teach local ladies how to saw their hips with authentic grace, her noble efforts soon instill her students with a newfound sense of confidence in both themselves and their struggling community. [ Narrative by Jason Buchanan ]

Why you should watch this movie: Both critics and moviegoers will agree that this type of film is already well-known, a group of misfits trying to prove their worth in society by doing something unique and even surprising.

But what makes this movie special is the emotional punch that is evident throughout the film. Yu Aoi, Yasuko Matsuyuki, and Sumiko Fuji represent three different women with their set of values and beliefs, and their clashes make it more than worthwhile.

Josee, the Tiger and the Fish (Joze to tora to sakana tachi) is an almost weird, yet endearing love story between an impressionable young man (Satoshi Tsumabuki) and a disabled, jaded young lady named Josee (Chizuru Ikewaki - in a career-defining performance).

What the Movie is all about: Directed by Isshin Inudo, Josee, the Tiger and the Fish centers on the Tsuneo, a curious, but otherwise typical, college student. When a baby carriage careens down a hill and crashes in his path, Tsuneo comes face to face with Josee, a charming young woman who, despite being disabled, is capable of most anything, least of all a mean breakfast. Though Tsuneo's initial visits to her were made out of sympathy, it doesn't take too long until he falls for her. [ Narrative by Tracie Cooper ]

Tsuneo is a university student working part-time in a mah-jong parlor. Lately, the customers have been talking about an old lady who pushes a baby carriage through the streets. They say she is carrying something for a crime syndicate, and they wonder what it is she has in the carriage... Money? Drugs? One day, the owner of the mah-jong parlor sends Tsuneo out to walk his dog. A baby carriage comes rolling down a hill and crashes into a guard rail. The old lady asks him to look into the carriage, where he finds a young woman clutching a knife. This is how Tsuneo first meets the girl who calls herself Josée. Her real name is Kumiko, and she is unable to walk, so her grandmother takes her out early every morning in the old baby carriage. To thank Tsuneo for his help, they offer him breakfast, and he begins to fall under the spell of the young woman's unusual charm. Kumiko has named herself after the heroine of a novel by Françoise Sagan, and Tsuneo comes to call this strange girl by that name. He grows more and more attracted to her. [ AsianWiki ]

Why you should watch this movie: Aside from being one of Satoshi Tsumabuki's biggest movies, this is also Chizuru Ikewaki's most memorable performance to date.

The amazing on-screen chemistry between the two lead actors - Tsumabuki and Ikewaki - is so authentic, you can even sympathize with them as they make love after years of being apart. The poignant, truthful and matter-of-fact narration of the story is something that will keep you remembering the movie even after months.

Confessions (Kokuhaku) features some of Japan's most promising young talents - Ai Hashimoto, Mana Ashida, Yukito Nishii, Kai Inowaki and one of the industry's most popular leading ladies Takako Matsu. It is a tale of revenge, teen angst and the cruelty and prejudices of today's youth.

What the Movie is all about: Tetsuya Nakashima wrote and directed this edgy drama about a woman who plots revenge against a handful of irresponsible youths. Yuko Moriguchi (Takako Matsu) is a teacher who spends her days looking after a class of frequently unruly seventh graders.

One day, Yuko calmly announces to her class that she's leaving her job soon as she's still struggling with the recent death of her young daughter. She adds that she knows who was responsible for the child's drowning, they happen to be among the students in her class -- and that the milk they're drinking may just be infected with a deadly disease.

Through a series of flashbacks, we become witnesses to Yuko's difficulties with her students, the actions of the nameless students she believes are guilty of murder -- one of whom is planning vengeance against Yuko, while the other sinks deep into paranoia -- and the incidents that suggest the likely innocence and guilt of the parties involved [ Narrative by Mark Deming ]

Why you should watch this movie: If you love dramatic thrillers with a twist, then this is the perfect movie for you. If you're a fan of Takako Matsu, then you will love her here because she was utterly convincing! The fact that it also stars Ai Hashimoto is enough to pique interest since Hashimoto is one incredibly gifted young actress.

High school students can be such annoying, irritating creatures who exhibit their set of prejudice and preferences - they are put on spotlight here with dramatic effect. There are some disturbing scenes - not for the faint of heart, but the whole feature running 106 minutes is worth every single bit.

Sway (Yureru) features three amazing Japanese talents (with Joe Odagiri in the lead) who excelled in this mystery-drama-thriller involving a love triangle that turned deadly, sibling rivalry and Japanese legalese.

What the Movie is all about: A murder investigation reveals a deep-rooted sibling rivalry in director Miwa Nishikawa's brooding family drama. On the one-year anniversary of his mother's death, Tokyo art and fashion photographer Takeru (Joe Odagiri) returns to his small hometown to pay his respects. But all is not well back home, and when Takeru's authoritative father questions his sincerity, the frustrated son strikes back with accusations of violent conduct.

Though the situation is initially diffused by Takeru's older brother Moniru (Teruyuki Kagawa), who stayed behind to run the family business, tensions once again start to run high when Takeru, Moniru, and lovely childhood friend Chieko (Yoko Maki) decide to celebrate their reunion by taking a hike in the wilderness. Tragedy strikes, however, when Takeru wanders off to photograph the landscape while Minoru and Chieko get into a heated argument on a suspension bridge. After rejecting Minoru's advances, Cheiko falls to her death. Takeru saw nothing, and though Minoru claims responsibility for Chieko's death the authorities still launch a full investigation.

With the evidence against Minoru mounting, it quickly becomes apparent that the older sibling is deeply resentful of the fact that he was forced to remain at home with his overbearing father as Takeru departed for Tokyo and began living the good life. Cheiko's rejection was merely the last straw for Minoru, who subsequently rejects his brother's help and places himself at the mercy of the powers that be. [ Narrative by Jason Buchanan ]

Why you should watch this movie: Joe Odagiri is in top form as he plays an arrogant art-fashion photographer who left the small town to settle in the big city. Leaving behind his family including his older brother played by Teruyuki Kagawa who was great playing the kind but insecure and volatile Minoru and his flame Cheiko (Yoko Maki who looks quite alluring).

The amazing on-screen chemistry between the actors with a good number of suspense and the dramatic scene which distinguishes the movie from a whole bunch of Japanese dramatic thrillers.