Mise-en-scène: Interior Design in Two Japanese Movies

Mise-en-scène: Interior Design in Japanese Movies
A FILM OF ROMANCE AND FANTASY - property of CoMix Wave Films

As shown in their films, it is no secret that Japanese movies have always featured the beauty and simplicity of their interior design. And people have admired their movies for years and changed the film industry all over the world through their aesthetic and Japanese horror. Japanese movies have always been inspired of their culture and the experiences they had as a country; from wars, earthquakes, calamities, and accidents.

Through this, people have experienced Japanese culture and admired the vibe of the country through their aesthetic. For us to fully explain the interior design in Japanese films, we will have to issue a warning since we will state a couple of movies in this article, there will be spoilers.

Mise-en-scène: Interior Design in Japanese Movies
INSIDE THE HOMES IN JAPANESE FILMS - screenshots courtesy of Dantsukasa


As mentioned before, Japanese films are inspired by their experiences especially after the war and notable calamities the struck the country. Countless of stories was produced to represent the lives of citizens in the aftermath of said events. There are also stories that features the life during the darkest of times which inspired the genre of Japanese Horror that was born after the Hiroshima War.

In 1945, during the last stage of World War II, the United States dropped atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed more than 129,000 people, most of whom are civilians. This is the only and remains the only use of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict. It is unknown of how many people died due to the aftermath of the bombings, people who were exposed to the blast, heat and nuclear radiation. This war has affected the lives of people long after it finished.

With their history, Japanese artists have reflected their stories and visions to reflect the trials and tribulations of Japan.


In film studies, mise-en-scène is the arrangement of elements that can be seen in the scene/screen. This term is used to describe the placement of characters, set design, lighting, color, space and composition and everything that the director chose to show in a scene. You could say, this is a concept that resembles the interior design of a house or a space. Also, interior design is a big part of the mise-en-scène of a scene. This gives the scene symbolism and/or foreshadowing the next events in the story. It also gives the viewers the feel of the movie. This is also the reason why it is important to understand interior design of the film.

In Japanese movies, it reflects in their movies the interior of a traditional Japanese household as well as the aesthetic of their bustling cities. In this article, we will show you a couple of movies that showcases the feel and the inspiration for interior design.

Mise-en-scène: Interior Design in Japanese Movies
A MOVIE OF TRADITION - screenshot courtesy of TV Tropes


Plot: Equinox Flower is a story that revolves around a traditional businessman that got upset in knowing that his daughter will get married without asking for his permission or even wait for him to find her a husband.

“Hirayama is a fairly ordinary Tokyo businessman in late middle age. He is not as hidebound by tradition as some, as indicated by the sage advice he gives a friend whose daughter has run away to be married. But when a man named Taniguchi shows up at his office one day and asks for the hand of his daughter Setsuko in marriage, Hirayama flips out. Angry over not being asked before Taniguchi and Setsuko chose each other, Hirayama refuses to consent to the marriage. It eventually becomes clear that his daughter is going to get married anyway, however, and Hirayama is left to make peace with his daughter’s wedding and Japan’s rapidly changing culture.” (TV Tropes)

LUXE IN JAPANESE COLOR - screenshot courtesy of Pinterest

Equinox Flower is the very first Japanese film in color that was release in 1951 and it shows the traditional style of interior design in Japan and it also shows the transition between the traditional design to the modern interior design.

Mise-en-scène: Interior Design in Japanese Movies

“Future cities are themselves ruins. Our contemporary cities are destined to live only a fleeting moment," he said.

KIMI NO NAWA 君の名は / YOUR NAME (2016)

Mise-en-scène: Interior Design in Japanese Movies
A FILM OF ROMANCE AND FANTASY - property of CoMix Wave Films

Plot: Your Name is a story of a young romance, adventure and the thread of fate that binds us together.

The day the stars fell, two lives changed forever. High schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives. But one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body, and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly, and the two must adjust their lives around each other. Yet, somehow, it works. They build a connection and communicate by leaving notes, messages, and more importantly, an imprint. When a dazzling comet lights up the night’s sky, something shifts, and they seek each other out wanting something more-a chance to finally meet. But try as they might, something more daunting than distance prevents them. Is the string of fate between Mitsuha and Taki strong enough to bring them together, or will forces outside their control leave them forever separated?” (Rotten Tomatoes)

Mise-en-scène: Interior Design in Japanese Movies
URBAN IN COMPARISON - screenshots courtesy of Dantsukasa

Despite being an animated film, most of Kimi No Na Wa’s setting was based on real places in Japan. This film perfectly shows the difference of the urban and rural houses since the two main characters lives in two different worlds. Kimi no na wa shows the simplicity of both settings yet seems so different which shows the diversity of Japanese interior design.

Japanese films have truly showcased the beauty of their culture through their art and films and it did not only inspire movies from all over the world but they also inspired other people’s lifestyle.

Mise-en-scène: Interior Design in Japanese Movies
FROM YEARS, YEARS BACK - screenshots courtesy of Dantsukasa

If you want your space to be a live action set of a Japanese movie, TGR can help make your interior design fantasies come through. Tokyo Grand Renovation (TGR) is a Japanese home interior design and renovation firm that focuses on designing and building luxury spaces that are stylish, elegant, and also functional using Japanese lifestyle craftsmanship. TGR is located at the heart of Makati Central District. Learn more about us here.

For inquiries, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 832 16 76, or send an e-mail at  info@tgr.com.ph.

TGRはマカティの高級インテリアデザイン、リノベーション、会社です。TGRは 住宅および商業 スペースの為のデザインと建築を提供 し ております。お問い合わせは 、02832 1676 にお電話いただくか、 電子メール info@tgr.com.ph へ送信 お願いします。


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