When it comes to movies, the Japanese film industry is one of the most aesthetically evolved. That is not very surprising since we are talking about the land that gave us Akiro Kurosawa.

Kurosawa might have declared the arrival of Japanese cinema in the global scene but that baton has been carried on only forward since then.

One of the most popular genres, J-Horror or Japanese Horror, garners worldwide attention. It might appear a bit offbeat if we adhere to Hollywood standards. J-Horror is gloriously gory, suspenseful, folk-religious and focuses a great deal on psychological horror.

Here is a list of some of the Japanese horror movies you must not miss, in no particular order.

#1 Noroi

Long and complex, Noroi has been made in the documentary-found-footage style. Movie focuses on a paranormal expert who disappears during the making of a disturbing documentary, The Curse.

#2 Ju On Best Japanese Horror Movies

This movie is mostly popular as The Grudge. It is perhaps one of the most widely-watched and well-received horror movies ever. And that kid ghost! Dear God!

#3 Ringu

This terrifying movie is also extremely popular. Much like Ju On, Ringu keeps the audience nicely petrified to look away from the screen. Sadako emerging from the well and then from the television set will forever be seared into our brains.

#4 Suicide Club

Cases of mass suicide grips the nation and the police are trying to find the cause. This morbid movie makes a different kind of sense when you come to know that 33,000 teenagers committed suicide the year before the film as made.


#5 Dark Water

An eerie apartment with a bad leak on the ceiling does not seem like the most terrifying plot. But how the movie unfolds is a masterclass on how to make a horror film terrifying and tragic.

#6 Onibaba

The movie is about survival, which is the essence of every horror movie. Set in 14th century with a backdrop of feudal wars, Onibaba features two women and a demonic mask. Exceptionally entertaining with a fistful of psychological horror.

#7 Rinne

Rinne or Reincarnation has all the ingredients for a great horror movie. With multiple murders decade ago, killer committing suicide, questionable movie being made recreating all the events, shock moments and the nefarious venue, Rinne is an absolute winner!

#8 Kairo

People are committing suicide and the world is depopulating. A couple of survivors must fight against all odds, along with their will to survive in a post apocalyptic world infested with ghosts.


#9 Audition

A widower teams up with a director to find himself a life-partner. They ‘audition’ women to be the wife. Then they find Asami. She is a nutcase to say the least and lives in an empty apartment with a frightening-looking sack. If this doesn’t make you curious, we don’t know what will.

#10 Tales Of Terror From Tokyo And All Over Japan

The name of the movie is self-explanatory – it is an anthology of horror tales, unequal in their horror quotient.

#11 Teke Teke

The film focuses on a legless woman who haunts the railway station. If anyone sees her, they die within three days. The garden-variety horror movie but equally frightening.

#12 Kuime

Kuime or Over Your Dead Body focuses on a couple, both of whom are part of a play based on the popular Yotsuya Kaidan. Things get increasingly convoluted and gory as Kosuke starts cheating on Miyuki offstage.

#13 Yotsuya Kaidan

One of the film adaptations of what is probably the most popular ghost story. Ghost of murdered wife haunts adulterer husband and the result is stupefying.


#14 P.O.V: Norowareta Firumu

Ghost video rolls. Origin of the ghost video is traced to a high school. Investigations into supernatural occurrences in the high school ensue. Haunted. High. School.

#15 Kwaidan

Another anthology of horror flicks that has been critically acclaimed and bagged an Academy Award nomination. It probably is the only one of its kind.

#16 Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman

This movie has a woman with a slit mouth. I repeat, a slit mouth. And she is wandering about with a gigantic pair of scissors cutting people and all. It is the kind of movie that scares you even before the opening credit rolls. Full points for the gore.

#17 Jigoku

An extremely gory film that has nothing to do with realism. Deaths and misery all around with an unusual trip to hell. Yes.

#18 The Complex

The Complex focuses on a haunted complex where mysterious deaths happen. There is an added bonus of scratching noises from the apartment below in the middle of the night.


#19 Suicide Manual

Two cameramen investigate the case of a group suicide where four people kill themselves. The run into a girl who was a part of the pact but backed out in fear and twists and turns ensue.


#20 Tomie

The first installation of this series is about a troubled woman trying to recover her memories. The only thing she remembers is a name – Tomie.