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What to Watch This Weekend: Our Favorite Japanese Books-turned-Movies

Sometimes you just want to kick back and watch a movie on Friday night. If you’re a book lover, it can be hard to set aside your latest and greatest novel and turn on the tube. Fortunately for you, Japanese cinema has made it their mission to take some of the best of Japanese literature and bring it to the big screen. Keep reading to see which of your favorite books have been turned into equally excellent movies.

The Devotion of Suspect X 

Are you ever disappointed when you read a book and then watch its movie adaptation? Us too. But with The Devotion of Suspect X, both book and movie are equally great.

The Devotion of Suspect X was published in 2005 by acclaimed mystery novelist Keigo Higashino. Both the original Japanese version and the translated English novel have won various prizes. If you love a good mystery story combined with murder and romance, add this one to your watchlist this weekend. 


Just two years after Kanae Minato published her book Confessions, the movie adaptation came out and swept up several film awards. Another murder-mystery, this film is dark, raw, and suspenseful. Not only is the story full of twists but the acting and cinematography are captivating. If you love that feeling of thrilling tension, add Confessions to your watchlist. Get it on DVD.


This 2010 Japanese film is based on Shuichi Yoshida's crime noir novel of the same name. It uncovers the loneliness and misery of a myriad of characters through subplots: the murderer, the victim, the victim’s family, and so on. The film itself is marked by fantastic performances, including the main actress who won Best Actress at the Montreal World Film Festival.


Are you into quirky anime movies? Then check out Paprika, based on the techno-thriller novel written by Yasutaka Tsutsui of the same name. Paprika was critically-acclaimed worldwide for its dynamic visuals and unique storytelling. However, we highly recommend reading the book first as the story can get a bit complicated at times. Watch Paprika on Amazon (US).

Norwegian Wood


Few movies have been made that are based on Murakami's books, but Norwegian Wood has captured his unique style particularly well. This touching coming-of-age story is set in 1960's Tokyo and follows the tale of a young man's first love. If you adored the book and are worried the movie won't live up to your expectations - not to fear. It's said that Murakami himself requested to review the script before it was filmed, ensuring a true-to-story adaptation that you'll want to watch again and again. Watch it on Amazon.


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