New Japanese movies 2021


If there’s anything we miss about life before the pandemic, it’s got to be catching a movie in cinemas. Well, you can expect a slew of exciting film releases to come your way. Start marking your calendars and look out for these new Japanese movies that are making their theatrical debut in 2021. 

Some of these movies are already in theatres, which means eager moviegoers don’t have to wait to catch the latest film releases.  


1. I Fell In Love Like A Bouquet 花束みたいな恋をした


New Japanese movies 2021 - i feel in love like a bouquet
Image credit: Eiga.com

Main cast 

  • Kasumi Arimura as Kinu
  • Masaki Suda as Mugi 

What happens if you miss the last train in Tokyo? Both stranded on an empty platform at Meidaimae Station, the two 22-year-old protagonists, Mugi and Kinu, meet by chance. As it turns out, the pair share similar interests and cultural tastes, and they quickly fall in love.  

New Japanese movies 2021 - i feel in love like a bouquet
Image credit: Yahoo Japan

Set in modern day Tokyo, I Fell In Love Like A Bouquet is a romance story that chronicles the 5year relationship between the couple. The film recounts the bittersweet journey of their relationship as they graduate from college and transition into adulthood. 

Genre: Romance
Length: 2 hours 4 minutes
Release date: 29th January 2021

『花束みたいな恋をした』本予告
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『花束みたいな恋をした』本予告

2. The Master Plan 名も無き世界のエンドロール


New Japanese movies 2021 - the master plan
Image credit: @exile_news_

Main cast 

  • Takanori Iwata as Kida
  • Mackenyu Arata as Makoto

Having grown up in a complicated environment, childhood friends Kida and Makoto have had each other’s back since they were young. Their friendship changes when Makoto disappears one day. In order to find his friend, Kida plunges into the underworld and becomes an unfeeling criminal. 

2 years later, Makoto re-emerges and is now an owner of a company. The Master Plan is a story about 2 friends who take different paths in life and how they reconcile with the changing dynamics of their relationship. 

Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Length: 1 hour 57 minutes
Release date: 29th January 2021

映画「名も無き世界のエンドロール」|本予告映像
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映画「名も無き世界のエンドロール」|本予告映像

3. First Love ファーストラヴ


New Japanese movies 2021 - first love
Image credit: AsianWiki

Main cast 

  • Keiko Kitagawa as Yuki Makabe 
  • Kyoko Yoshine as Kanna Hijiriyama 
  • Tomoya Nakamura as Kasho Anno 

First Love is a film adaption of the award-winning mystery novel of the same title. Up-and-coming announcer and college student Kanna Hijiriyama has her whole life ahead of her – until she stabs and murders her father. Amidst heated public attention, psychologist Yuki Makabe is tasked to handle the case.

When Yuki tries to uncover the truth behind the mysterious murder, she begins to see her younger self in Kanna. As she digs deeper into the case, Yuki’s life history, which is buried deep in her psyche, begins to resurface. 

Genre: Mystery
Length: 1 hour 59 minutes
Release date: 11th February 2021

映画『ファーストラヴ』予告編【2021年2月11日(木祝)公開】
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映画『ファーストラヴ』予告編【2021年2月11日(木祝)公開】

4. Photograph Memories おもいで写真


New Japanese movies 2021 - photograph memories
Image credit: Yahoo Japan

Main cast 

  • Mai Fukagawa as Yuko Otosara
  • Kengo Kora as Ichirou Hoshino 

Saddened by the passing of her grandmother her one and only family member Yuko moves from Tokyo to her hometown, Toyama. Frustrated by the out-of-focus funeral photos of her deceased grandmother, Yuko takes on the task of working as a photographer to take photos for the elderly for their iei (遺影; portraits of a deceased person). 

Though she was initially shunned for being “inauspicious”, the old people in her hometown gradually warmed up to the idea. Photograph Memories is a moving film about capturing the important moments and memories in life. 

Genre: Drama
Length: 1 hour 50 minutes
Release date: 29th January 2021

深川麻衣、“遺影写真”カメラマンに 主題歌は安田レイが担当 映画『おもいで写眞』予告映像
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深川麻衣、“遺影写真”カメラマンに 主題歌は安田レイが担当 映画『おもいで写眞』予告映像

5. Suicide Forest Village 樹海村


New Japanese movies 2021 - suicide forest village
Image credit: Cinema Today

Main cast 

  • Anna Yamada as Hibiki Amazawa
  • Mayu Yamaguchi as Naru Amazawa 
  • Kamio Fuju as Akutsu Teru 

From the director who brought you Ju-On, Suicide Forest Village is a film set in Aokigahara, a forest that is notorious for being one of the most popular suicide spots in the world. 

Kotori box, a cursed box that has terrified people since the ancient times, is said to be sealed in the suicide forest. 13 years later, the box reappears in front of protagonists Hibiki and Naru, and people start to disappear one after another. 

Genre: Horror
Length: 1 hour 57 minutes
Release date: 5th February 2021

樹海村 60秒<予告>
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樹海村 60秒<予告>

6. In Those Days. あの頃。


New Japanese movies 2021 - in those days
Image credit: Yahoo Japan

Main cast 

  • Tori Matsuzaka as Mikito Tsurugi
  • Taiga Nakano as Kozumin
  • Takashi Yamanaka as Robi

After failing the graduate school exam, Mikito has no life goals and spends most of his time lazing around aimlessly. That is, until he saw idol Aya Matsuura sing and dance on television. Enamoured, he goes to an idol event and ends up forming a music band with fellow fans he met at the event. 

Though they were initially hyped up about making music, the members slowly go their separate ways to pursue other priorities in life. The group eventually reunites when one of the members, Kozumin, is diagnosed with cancer. In Those Days. is a feel-good film about enjoying one’s youth with friends. 

Genre: Music, Drama
Length: 1 hour 57 minutes
Release date: 19th February 2021

松坂桃李主演 映画『あの頃。』予告編|2月19日(金)公開!!
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松坂桃李主演 映画『あの頃。』予告編|2月19日(金)公開!!

7. Under The Open Sky すばらしき世界


New Japanese movies 2021 - under the open sky
Image credit: @subarashiki2021

Main cast 

  • Koji Yakusho as Mikami 
  • Taiga Nakano as Tsunoda
  • Masami Nagasawa as Yoshizawa

Having spent most of his adult life in prison, middle-aged former yakuza Mikami struggles to adjust to life outside bars and integrate back into society. 

As he tries to navigate a rapidly changing society and reunite with his estranged mother, Mikami is approached by aspiring novelist Tsunoda and TV producer Yoshizawa. Hoping to make a documentary about Mikami’s life, Yoshizawa baits him with the promise of reuniting with his long-lost mother, much to the chagrin of Tsunoda.

New Japanese movies 2021 - under the open sky
Image credit: @TIFF_NET

Under The Open Sky is a film that sheds light on how the highly conformative Japanese society affects those who fall through the cracks.

Genre: Drama
Length: 2 hours 6 minutes
Release date: 11th February 2021

映画『すばらしき世界』本予告 2021年2月11日(木・祝)公開
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映画『すばらしき世界』本予告 2021年2月11日(木・祝)公開

8. The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window さんかく窓の外側は夜


New Japanese movies 2021 - The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window
Image credit: The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window Official Site

Main cast 

  • Masaki Okada as Rihito Hiyakawa 
  • Jun Shison as Kosuke Mikado 
  • Yurina Hirate as Erika Hiura 

Bookstore clerk Kosuke Mikado has been haunted by ghosts since he was a child as he has the ability to see spirits. One day, he’s invited by Rihito Hiyakawa, a spiritualist, to investigate a murder case that occurred a year ago. 

While searching for the body and the truth, the duo encounter some seriously bizarre and harrowing events. A live-action film adaptation of the popular supernatural manga of the same name, The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window will send chills down your spine.

Genre: Mystery, Horror
Length: 1 hour 42 minutes
Release date: 22nd January 2021

映画『さんかく窓の外側は夜』本予告(60秒)
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映画『さんかく窓の外側は夜』本予告(60秒)

9. The Cinderella Addiction 哀愁しんでれら


New Japanese movies 2021 - the cinderella addiction
Image credit: Fuji Television Network 

Main cast 

  • Tao Tsuchiya as Koharu Fukuura
  • Kei Tanaka as Daigo Izumisawa
  • Coco as Hikari

Despite what fairytales would have us believe, princesses don’t always have a happy ending. The Cinderella Addiction is a wicked twist on the classic fairy tale. 

Koharu Fukuura has her life turned upside down and loses everything overnight. Like a knight in shining armor arriving to save the damsel in distress, Daigo Izumisawa, a wealthy single father of an 8-year-old daughter, appears in Koharu’s life and proposes to her. Koharu accepts the proposal, but just when she thought happiness awaits her, unimaginable days lay ahead.

Genre: Drama, Suspense, Crime
Length: 1 hour 54 minutes
Release date: 5th February 2021

映画『哀愁しんでれら』予告篇
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映画『哀愁しんでれら』予告篇

10. Aristocrats あのこは貴族


New Japanese movies 2021 - aristocrats
Image credit: Osaka Schedule

Main cast 

  • Mugi Kadowaki as Hanako Haibara
  • Kiko Mizuhara as Miki Tokioka

Tokyoite Hanako Haibara, who sees marriage as the endgame in life, struggles to find another suitable partner after breaking up with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, Miki Tokioka, who was born in Toyama, struggles against all odds to enter a prestigious college in Tokyo. The lives of 2 very different women intersect in Aristocrats and their world opens up in an unexpected way. 

Genre: Drama
Length: 2 hour 4 minutes
Release date: 26th February 2021

映画『あのこは貴族』予告編
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映画『あのこは貴族』予告編

11. The Fable: A Contract Killer Who Doesn’t Kill ザ・ファブル 殺さない殺し屋


New Japanese movies 2021 - The Fable: A Contract Killer Who Doesn’t Kill
Image credit: Shochiku

Main cast 

  • Junichi Okada as Akira Sato
  • Fumino Kimura as Yoko

Ordered by his boss to “lead an ordinary life” for 1 year, legendary assassin Akira Sato – otherwise known as the titular “The Fable” – is trying to lead a bloodless life. Under a pseudo identity, Akira lives with his partner Yoko and the couple pretend to be siblings. 

Despite his best efforts, Akira can’t seem to catch a break as an incident prompts his return as an assassin. He tries his best to complete the mission without having to kill anyone. The Fable: A Contract Killer Who Doesn’t Kill is a comedy film that’s jam-packed with exhilarating action scenes and will leave you in stitches. 

Genre: Comedy, Action, Thriller, Suspense
Length: 2 hour 4 minutes
Release date: 5th February 2021

映画『ザ・ファブル 殺さない殺し屋』長尺予告【6月18日(金)全国公開!】
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映画『ザ・ファブル 殺さない殺し屋』長尺予告【6月18日(金)全国公開!】

12. Caution, Hazardous Wife 奥様は、取り扱い注意


New Japanese movies 2021 - cautious, hazardous wife
Image credit:
@okusama_ntv

Main cast 

  • Haruka Ayase as Nami Isayama 
  • Hidetoshi Nishijima as Yuki Isayama 

Caution, Hazardous Wife is an action film sequel of the 2017 drama of the same title. Nami, a housewife who happens to be a former special agent, concealed her past and married Yuki. Little does she know that her husband is actually a public security police who is monitoring Nami. And so begins a tale of a cat-and-mouse game as the couple deceives and tries to outwit each other. 

Genre: Comedy, Action, Drama
Length: 1 hour 59 minutes
Release date: 19th March 2021

劇場版『奥様は、取り扱い注意』予告【2021年3月19日(金)公開】
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劇場版『奥様は、取り扱い注意』予告【2021年3月19日(金)公開】

13. Kiba: The Fangs Of Fiction 騙し絵の牙


New Japanese movies 2021 - kiba the fangs of fiction
Image credit: Eiga.com

Main cast 

  • Yo Oizumi as Teru Hayami 
  • Mayu Matsuoka as Megumi Takano 

Teru Hayami, the editor-in-chief of a magazine, Trinity, is faced with the biggest obstacle in his career in publication. Due to workplace politics and internal strife, his magazine is on the edge of discontinuation. In a bid to save his magazine, Teru and newcomer Megumi use their wits to fight against all odds and navigate their way through treacherous office relations. 

Genre: Drama
Length: 1 hour 53 minutes
Release date: 26th March 2021

映画『騙し絵の牙』【予告編】大ヒット上映中!
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映画『騙し絵の牙』【予告編】大ヒット上映中!

14. HOKUSAI


New Japanese movies 2021 - hokusai
Image credit: Yahoo Japan

Main cast 

  • Yuya Yagira as Katsushika Hokusai (Young)
  • Min Tanaka as Katsushika Hokusai (Old)
  • Hiroshi Abe as Tsutaya Juzaburo
  • Eita Nagayama as Ryutei Tanehiko

You’ve had an animated film about Hokusai’s daughter now it’s time for the fabled woodblock print artist to take centre stage in the upcoming film, Hokusai

As Japan’s most prolific Japanese artist, Hokusai has produced as many as 30,000 masterpieces, including his iconic The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. Yet, little is known about his life. Loosely based on historical accounts, the film is a dramatised recount of the revered artist’s life in the Edo period. 

Genre: Historical
Length: 2 hours 9 minutes
Release date: May 2021

『HOKUSAI』Official Trailer 2 | IN CINEMAS 2021
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『HOKUSAI』Official Trailer 2 | IN CINEMAS 2021

15. Oshukatsu お終活 熟春! 人生, 百年時代の過ごし方


New Japanese movies 2021 - oshukatsu
Image credit: Yahoo Japan

Main cast 

  • Atsuko Takahata as Chikako Ohara
  • Isao Hashizume as Shinichi Ohara
  • Masaru Mizuno as Ryota Kanno
  • Ayame Gouriki as Aya Ohara

With her husband now retired and homebound, Chikako suffers from the “retired husband syndrome”. It’s a stress-induced illness that stems from having to interact extensively with one’s husband, who was previously an absentee spouse due to work, on a daily basis.  

New Japanese movies 2021 - oshukatsuImage adapted from: Aeon Cinema

Amid rising tensions, the couple, who has been married for 50 years, is on the brink of divorce. In order to distract her mother, Aya urges Chikako to take part in the shukatsu fair an exhibition that prepares the elderly for their death. Oshukatsu is a surprisingly light-hearted film about the life of a retiree in Japan and what it means to face the prospect of death. 

Genre: Drama, Slice of life
Length: 1 hour 53 minutes
Release date: 21st May 2021

映画『お終活 熟春!人生、百年時代の過ごし方』特報
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映画『お終活 熟春!人生、百年時代の過ごし方』特報

16. Brothers In Brothel はるヲうるひと


New Japanese movies 2021 - brothers in brothel
Image credit: Eiga.com

Main cast 

  • Jiro Sato as Tetsuo
  • Takayuki Yamada as Tokuta
  • Riisa Naka as Ibuki

Brothers In Brothel takes place on a remote island in Japan. Tetsuo, who runs a brothel on said island, is known for his surliness and bad temper. Tokuta, his younger brother, follows Tetsuo everywhere, while younger sister Ibuki lies on the floor all day due to her chronic illness. 

4 other women, who work as prostitutes at the brothel, have drastically different personalities – just like the siblings. The film explores the dynamic between the 3 siblings, as well as the prostitutes’ relationship between the respective siblings. Besides that, Brothers In Brothel also dives deep into sex work in Japan.

Genre: Drama
Length: 1 hour 53 minutes
Release date: June 2021

『はるヲうるひと』特報映像
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『はるヲうるひと』特報映像

17. What Did You Eat Yesterday? きのう何食べた?


New Japanese movies 2021 - what did you eat yesterday?
Image credit: Eiga.com

Main cast 

  • Hidetoshi Nishijima as Shiro Kakei
  • Seiyo Uchino as Kenji Yabuki

Popular manga and hit drama series What Did You Eat Yesterday? gets a big screen debut. 

Frugal lawyer Shiro lives in a small Tokyo apartment with his boyfriend, Kenji, an outgoing and friendly hair stylist. The middle-aged gay couple have been in a loving relationship for 3 years. But there’s just 1 problem – nobody in Shiro’s circle, including his family members, knows that he’s gay and in a committed relationship.  

Depicting the subtleties of everyday life of gay couples in Japan, both the manga and drama versions have received widespread acclaim for its non-stereotypical portrayal of the gay community. Hopefully, we can expect the film to be equally groundbreaking.  

Genre: Food, Comedy, Romance, Slice of life
Length: TBC
Release date: TBC


18. Tokyo Revengers 東京リベンジャーズ


New Japanese movies 2021 - tokyo revengers
Image credit: Tokyo Revengers Wiki

Main cast 

  • Takumi Kitamura as Takemichi Hanagaki
  • Yosuke Sugino as Naoto Tachibana
  • Mio Imada as Hinata Tachibana

If you could go back in time, what would you change about the past? For 26-year-old freeter (フリーター; a person who is unemployed or works part-time) Takemichi, the answer to that question is undoubtedly to save his first love, Hinata, and her younger brother Naoto from being murdered by the titular Tokyo Revengers, a notorious school gang based in the Kanto region. 

After he saved Naoto by accidentally travelling back in time once, Takemichi is determined to go back to the past again to confront the Tokyo Revengers and prevent Hinata’s imminent death.  

Genre: Action, Drama, School
Length: TBC
Release date: July 2021

映画『東京リベンジャーズ』特報 2021年7月9日(金)公開
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映画『東京リベンジャーズ』特報 2021年7月9日(金)公開

19. Honey Lemon Soda ハニーレモンソーダ


New Japanese movies 2021 - honey lemon soda
Image credit: @ai_y_staff

Main cast 

  • Murakami Maito Raul as Kai Miura 
  • Ai Yoshikawa as Uka Ishimori 

Honey Lemon Soda is a movie about the budding romance between 2 unlikely people. Bullied in middle school, the shy and introverted Uka had a hard time making friends.

New Japanese movies 2021 - honey lemon soda
Image credit: Eiga.com

Determined to have a fresh start, Uka enters high school and meets Kai, a popular boy with bright lemon-coloured hair. The 2 become friends and they gradually develop feelings for each other. But unbeknownst to Uka, Kai has a hidden secret that no one else knows of.  

Genre: Romance, School
Length: TBC
Release date: 9th July 2021

映画『ハニーレモンソーダ』特報【7.9(FRI)ROADSHOW】
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映画『ハニーレモンソーダ』特報【7.9(FRI)ROADSHOW】

20. Shin Ultraman シン・アルトラマン


New Japanese movies 2021 - shin ultraman
Ultraman (1966).
Image credit: Movie Walker 

Main cast 

  • Takumi Saito as Ultraman 

To celebrate the 55th year anniversary of Ultraman, Shin Ultraman, a film adaptation of the famous series which aired in 1966, will be released this summer.  

After colliding with an Ultra Warrior, Hayata, one of the senior members of the Science Special Search-Party – an international police organisation – becomes the human host of the iconic Ultraman. To maintain the peace of earth, Hayata transforms into Ultraman and fights dangerous monsters. 

Shin Ultraman will feature the hero’s classic nemeses, such as Neronga and Gabora. 

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action
Length: TBC
Release date: TBC


New Japanese movies in 2021 to watch


From hair-raising horror movies to feel-good romantic films, there are plenty of exciting releases lined up for 2021. Be sure to catch these new Japanese movies when they are out in the theatres. Which movie are you looking forward to most in 2021? 

Here are more movies and series to binge-watch: 

Cover image adapted from: @exile_news_, @subarashiki2021 and Yahoo Japan