In a recent online poll the Japanese DIMSDRIVE Research asked what domestic movies the Japanese participants would recommend to foreigners.
Altogether 5,537 members answered the question, voting Seven Samurai the second most recommendable film. The film series Otoko wa Tsurai yo (“It’s Tough Being a Man”) beat Kurosawa’s classic for the first place, in fact with a rather clear margin (275 votes against Seven Samurai’s 197, i.e. 75 votes more).
The all-over Top 10 was:
1. 男はつらいよ（シリーズ） [It’s Hard Being a Man (Series)] 272 votes
2. 七人の侍 [Seven Samurai] 197 votes
3. となりのトトロ [My Neighbour Totoro] 151 votes
4. 武士の一分 [Love and Honour] 131 votes
5. 火垂るの墓 [Grave of the Fireflies] 81 votes
6. Always 三丁目の夕日 [Sunset in the Third Street] 77 votes
6. 風の谷のナウシカ [Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind] 77 votes
8. 硫黄島からの手紙 [Letters from Iwojima] 76 votes
9. どろろ [Dororo] 66 votes
10. Death Note [Death Note] 64 votes
There is actually quite an interesting choice at number 8, as well.
Curiously, there is a difference between male and female voters, with 5.8% of males indicating that Seven Samurai would be the most recommendable film, and 1.2% that Rashomon would be the most suitable, while only 1.7% of women thinking Seven Samurai worthy of recommendation, and Rashomon not making the women’s top 10 at all.
Seven Samurai was in fact the most popular choice among men in their 20s and those in their 60s. Men in their 40s, 50s and 60s, meanwhile, collectively listed as many as three Kurosawa movies in their top 10s, with Rashomon and Ikiru following Seven Samurai.
Finally, a nod should also be made for WhatJapanThinks.com, which is where I stumbled upon this rather interesting set of data.