Linda Linda Linda

In Japanese with English subtitles Directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita, LINDA LINDA LINDA depicts the musical and personal dramas of an all-girl high school rock band and has played to critical acclaim at more than 40 major international film festivals. The film notably offers a soundtrack by ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and a cameo by punk rock legends The Ramones. The DVD release includes a new audio commentary by noted film critic and Japanese pop culture journalist Patrick Macias. LINDA LINDA LINDA was originally released in 2005 and follows an all-girl high school rock band after an untimely break-up. Only three days before their high school festival, guitarist Kei (Yu Kashii), drummer Kyoto (Aki Maeda of Battle Royale), and bassist Nozumi (Shiori Sekine) must recruit a new lead vocalist for their band. They choose an unlikely Korean exchange student Son (Doona Bae of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance), even though her comprehension of Japanese is a bit rough! It’s a race against time as the group struggles to learn three tunes for the festival’s rock concert — including a classic ’80s punk-pop song by the famous Japanese group The Blue Hearts called "Linda Linda." (
Year Released
Running Time
114 minutes
Date Released
2007 (DVD)
VIZ Pictures
Average: 3.8 (4 votes)


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Entertaining and feel-good film about a Japanese all-girl rock band

Field of Interest/Specialty: Librarian/Computer Teacher
Posted On: 01/05/2020

Jessica Brecht
Librarian, PreK-6
Aquinas Academy in Greensburg, PA
I watched the 2005 Japanese dramedy Linda Linda Linda directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita and I absolutely loved it. This is a fun, feel-good movie that could be used in a middle or high school classroom, and I could even see it being used with upper elementary students. My daughters (7th grade, 5th grade, 3rd grade, and 1st grade) trickled into the room while I was watching this movie for class, and they all ended up joining me to watch it through to the end. Even my first grader was engaged; she liked reading the English subtitles, and because there is relatively little dialogue and the movie moves at a slower pace than American movies, she was able to follow along well enough to stay interested. My kids were curious about this film and were clearly intrigued by this story of a girl band who must overcome a few hurdles before their big performance.
There were two brief scenes in which the girls were drinking alcohol (but this seemed to go over my kids’ heads, as the cans/bottles weren’t recognizable as alcoholic beverages and no one appeared to be drunk), and there was an ex-boyfriend and other adults who smoked cigarettes, but otherwise this film does not contain any questionable or sensitive material. My favorite thing about this movie (besides the earworm that I got after hearing the girl band play the eponymous and crowd-favorite song, Linda Linda) is that it passes the Bechdel-Wallace movie test -- it is an entire movie (and not just one scene) in which two (or more) named females talk about something other than a male.
The movie takes place over a three-day period, as a Japanese high school all-girl rock band races against the clock to try to find a replacement lead singer for their performance at the big school festival, which is only 72 hours away. The girls have had some drama which resulted in their lead singer abruptly quitting, so they need to find a new vocalist, but the person they finally convince to join them is a Korean exchange student who does not speak Japanese well. Not only do they have to overcome their band’s in-fighting, but they have to choose a new selection of songs, learn the songs, and teach them to the new Korean girl, all in three days. Since this is essentially a school story, complete with classrooms, meddling administrators, school uniforms, plenty of friend drama, love interests, and best of all, punk rock music, it is a universal story that any teenager, pre-teen, tween, or wannabe tween, could easily connect with.
As a school librarian, I can envision using this movie with 5th or 6th graders in a research unit. For example, we could research what the school experience is for other 10-13 year-olds throughout the world, and clips from this movie would work well in a compare/contrast exercise. It would be fun to show the students one of the best scenes in the movie, in which a Japanese boy who has fallen in love with Son, the Korean exchange student, finally professes his love for her. He learns some Korean in order to speak with her in her native language, but she ultimately rejects him as her friends giggle outside the room. This would be an interesting scene to look at to study and discuss courtship practices from around the world. It would be fun to find a real Japanese classroom with whom we could Skype and have a discussion about our favorite parts of this entertaining film.

Lan's movie review

Field of Interest/Specialty: Chinese History
Posted On: 10/27/2014

I enjoyed Dr. Takahashi’s lecture on the discriminations that Japanese people usually hold towards others during last Monday’s seminar, especially to the Zainichi Koreans. Although we almost have never heard or watched the news about the tensions between Japanese and Korean (or Chinese) here in the USA, I was in China last June when the Japanese right-wingers protested against Zainichi Koreans through TV news reports. Dr. Takahashi did a wonderful job in explaining who these Zainichi Koreans are, why they didn’t go back to Korea, and why Zainichi Koreans are discriminated. Ironically, many Zainichi Koreans are celebrities in Japanese show business and sports. I picked the DVD Linda Linda Linda directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita because there is a Korean exchange student in it. I was very curious to see if the social discrimination on the Zainichi Korean is addressed or how this is played out throughout the movie.Linda Linda Linda
It took me a while to figure out what was going on among those four high school female teenagers - Son (the Korean exchange student who is insufficient in speaking Japanese) was introduced to the band by Kei (the prettiest, the band leader), Kyoko (the bass player) and Nozomi (the drummer). They practiced day-and-night for the school festival that was just a few days away. The movie is not fast paced, it contains many silent moments. Although it is about the teenagers, the story is rather plain and simple, less energetic or excited. Son, the Korean exchange student is a bight character that reminds me the movie is not going to kill me by its dullness. Her language barriers and straightforward personality have created several fun scenes to watch - for example, the conversation with Kei at the bus stop; commenting on Kei’s ex-boyfriend; saying that she saw everyone’s underpants from below while climbing up to the roof. It was very awkward but also cute to see Son met with her admirer in the school facility room. The boy was trying hard to speak Korean language, while Son was responding in Japanese. (I agree that it would be helpful if the subtitle to show which language they are using, sometimes, it can be very confusing) With several eyes peeking through the windows, Son and that boy stood stiffly within a distance. To the audience, it is not romantic at all, but I must say, this actually realistically depicted the life. I think many people might have the similar experience in expressing their affections to others. Will you find it easier to say “I love you” in your native language or in a foreign language?
Depends on what you teach and whom you plan to show the movie to, I would recommend the following “homework” for your students.
1.Research what the “school festival” called in Japanese language; when it takes place, how long it lasts, is it a student-led activity or not, and what do Japanese high school students do during the festival.
2.Research Zainichi Korean’s social status in Japan
During the film watching -
1.How well do you understand the Japanese language? Have you picked up any words/expressions throughout the show?
2.How many English words have you picked from the movie?
3.Observe the Japanese school settings, make comparisons between Japanese schools and American schools.
4.Observe the relations between teachers and students; boys and girls, band members, etc.
5.In the scene that the little girl was reading a manga book, what kind of impression do you have from their conversation?
6.How Japanese students are different from American students? Are they more polite? Less energetic, less emotional? Any similarities?
7.What kind of the body languages that you define them as typical Japanese?
8.How the people in the movie treated Son, the Korean exchange student?
Post-Film -
1.Share the words/expressions that you learned from the film
2.Do you have any questions that you are still puzzled with?
3.What’s your views on the dress code - school uniforms?
4.How would you say “I love you” to someone you adore?
5.Survey - would you recommend this movie to others? If so, whom?

Linda Linda Linda, a DVD

Field of Interest/Specialty: gifted
Posted On: 04/18/2010

A Japanese high school festival, or Gakuen-sai, in 2004 is the setting for this movie about an all girls band who suddenly needs a lead singer. The girls invite a Korean exchange student to fill the role, even though she barely speaks Japanese. They only have three days to prepare which adds another aspect to the normal high school social drama. Middle to high school students would enjoy the movie, and would learn about Japanese high school culture as well. The DVD has special features that include culture tips and questions about the music featured.

Linda Linda Linda

Field of Interest/Specialty: Japanese art history
Posted On: 09/06/2009

This is a great film for middle and high school students, and can be used with either only short clips or in its entirety. Teachers should know something about high school education in contemporary Japan, however, to effectively use this film in the classroom. Many features of Japanese teen life appear in the film: the hard work students put into school events like festivals, the sense of ganbaru (to do one's best) expressed by the students as they practice a musical piece and try to work together as a band, the universal teenage angst experienced by boys and girls who like each other, etc. Images of the school building and uniforms, the teachers' room, and story line about the difficulties a Korean exchange student has in "fitting in" all add to the usefulness of this film. Thus film also has funny and touching moments, plus good music and a feel-good ending.