films seen
average score
Japan - 62 years old
Alive and kicking
more info

Not one of Japan's most unique or remarkable directors, though Shinohara helmed his fair share of interesting films. If you're looking for solid drama or horror features and you're otherwise out of options, his oeuvre is a perfect back-up.


Breathe In, Breathe Out

Shinkokyu no Hitsuyo
2004 / 123m - Japan
Breathe In, Breathe Out poster

If you think it all sounds rather dull than that's perfectly understandable. The thing is, it really isn't. Breathe In, Breathe Out is a beautiful, pure, subtle and heart-warming drama.

Riding on the Metro

Metro ni Notte
2006 / 121m - Japan
Riding on the Metro poster

Heaven's Bookstore

Tengoku no Honya - Koibi
2004 / 111m - Japan
Drama, Romance
Heaven's Bookstore poster

A fine drama that plays like a more sentimental version of Koreeda's After Life. Shinohara isn't as subtle, the drama itself has a clearer direction and some moments can be a bit much, but overall this is a sweet, loveable and slightly fantastical film that had little trouble convincing me of its qualities. Fans of '00 Japanese dramas won't be disappointed.

Karaoke Terror

Shôwa Kayô Daizenshû
2003 / 112m - Japan
Karaoke Terror poster
Jam Films poster

Work on the Grass

Kusa no Ue no Shigoto
1993 / 42m - Japan
Work on the Grass poster

A somewhat inconspicuous short to start off Shinohara's career, except that Work on the Grass is a perfect precursor to Breathe In, Breathe Out, arguably one of Shinohara's best films to date. The premise is very similar, so is the appeal, though the limited runtime keeps Shinohara from hitting the necessary dramatic notes.

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Two boys are starting their work day together. Their job is to cut the grass of a large field. One is a seasoned professional who has been doing this work for quite a while, the other a first-day temp who missed the introduction classes. The start of their day is pretty rough, but as they get to talking, they slowly develop a bond.

The premise is simple, don't expect anything too profound from this little slice-of-life drama. It's just the boys spending their day together, talking on their breaks and cutting grass in a rather beautiful setting. It's not going to be for everyone, but I really appreciated this down-tempo drama.


2021 / 114m - Japan
Inubu poster

A sweet but somewhat unremarkable little drama about two future veterinarians who both want to help animals in their own way. People with a soft spot for animals and pets are sure to appreciate the message and moral dilemmas put forward in this film, but the drama isn't quite strong enough to warrant the 2-hour runtime.

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Sota and Ryosuke are both studying to become vets. Sota cares too much about animals to hurt them and his mission is to safe every animal possible, whereas Ryosuke wants to change things from the inside and is willing to get his hands dirty, if that means he can run his own shelter and make structural changes to animal welfare later in his life.

The actors do a decent job, there are plenty of cute animals running around, and the direction is pleasant. There's no real urgency though and the presentation of the moral dilemma is a bit simplistic. It's certainly not a terrible film, it's just that Shinohara is obviously capable of better. A film with its heart in the right place.


2005 / 118m - Japan
Drama - Anthology
Female poster

A somewhat disappointing anthology, especially when looking at all the impressive names involved. Five famed directors (apart from Nishikawa all male) each take on a female story. Few of them grabbed this opportunity to come up with something unique, which means you only get some decent but relatively standard drama. With these directors, I needed more.

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The first story is about a girl returning to her hometown, the second one sees two women bonding after one attempts to steal money from the other. The third short follows a woman on holiday with her employer, the fourth one has a young man fancy the friend of his mother, and the final one tells of a mistress waiting for her lover.

Matsuo's short is the best one, while Tsukamoto's short has the best individual scenes. Hiroki's film is probably the least successful of the bunch, but comedy isn't his strong suit. I just wish there were more memorable entries here. When you have less time to impress, you have to go bigger, even if that means failing spectacularly. In contrast, I'd rate all shorts here in the 3-3.5* range, which is not what I'm looking for in a good anthology.

High School Girl's Friend 

Jo Gakusei no Tomo
2001 / 104m - Japan
Comedy, Drama
High School Girl's Friend  poster

First Love

2000 / 113m - Japan
First Love poster

Sweetheart Chocolate

Tian Xin Qiao Ke Li
2012 / 106m - China
Sweetheart Chocolate poster

A noble attempt, but this Chinese-Japanese co-production never really finds its rhythm. Maybe it's because the romance is rather overstated and cheesy, maybe Shinohara just wasn't the right man for this particular blend of China and Japan. There are some hopeful moments, but overall it's just not that great.

At River's Edge

Ogawa no Hotori
2011 / 104m - Japan
At River's Edge poster

Schoolday of the Dead

Shisha no Gakuensai
2000 / 100m - Japan
Schoolday of the Dead poster

Last Operations Under the Orion

Manatsu no Orion
2009 / 120m - Japan
Action, War
Last Operations Under the Orion poster


2008 / 99m - Japan
Yamazakura poster