3 most moving Japan documentaries that look at the many faces of modern loneliness

RTD’s Japan documentaries explore Japan from the heart. Whether it’s old people dying alone or teenagers stuck in their bedrooms because they can’t face society. Whether they are men whose closest companion is a silicon doll, or gangsters nostalgic for the heyday of the yakuza, they’re all suffering from the same universal ailment, loneliness. In this exquisite civilization with an ultra-advanced economy, people turn to high tech cures. But can technology replace humanity? Check out our top 3 Japan documentaries to find out.

1. Yakuza: Good For Nothing

Members of Japan’s feared yakuza crime syndicate are often portrayed as grim-faced professional killers in sharp black suits and dark glasses, but the reality is somewhat different. In this film, Mr. Makoto, a tubby tattooed yakuza mobster and ‘old-fashioned guy’ admits the life of a gangster in modern-day Japan ain’t what it used to be.

2. Hikikomori Loveless

Known as hikikomori, the phenomenon of social withdrawal has become increasingly commonplace in Japan. Hundreds of thousands of Japanese shut themselves away, spending months and years in isolation. But as time goes by, the hikikomori are forced to face the harsh realities of life. Luckily, people are helping to draw them out. RTD meets the hikikomori and a doctor getting the recluses back on their feet.

3. Dying Alone

Thousands of people die alone in Japan every year. Many are discovered weeks or months after they've passed away. The phenomenon of solitary deaths, or kodokushi, has become so common there is now high demand for services that clean out the apartments of the dead – something families used to do. With more elderly people living alone and their growing isolation in Japanese society, some say this grim trend is likely to continue. With this film, you can find out more about lonely deaths and the industry that's sprung up around them by meeting a janitor who seeks to honour these unknown elders.

Check out all our Japan documentaries below: