Japanese orchestral music--any recommendations?

While watching a "special" about Pearl Harbor the other night my attention was drawn to occasional lines of Japanese music used as background to the bits showing their preparation for the attack. I was struck by how lovely most of it sounded, seemingly always going into minor chords in a way that you don't too often hear in Western music. I think I might like this music but don't have a clue as to how to get additional exposure to it. Anyone out there have any familiarity with Japanese orchestral music? Please tell me which pieces to start with. Thank you.
There are a few Japanese composers of classical music but you'll find there is not much "orchestral" classical music (in the western sense) native to Japan. In the mid 20th century, there were a few orchestral composers (Toyama, Akutagawa, Ifukube (famous for writing the music in Godzilla movies), et al) who made film music and some orchestral pieces. Naxos has issued a "Japanese Orchestra Favorites" disc which has some variety so it's a good introduction. There's also "Japanese Orchestral Music", a disc recorded in Europe several years ago (no number, sorry) - cool cover art as I remember. Ryuichi Sakamoto and Toru Takemitsu are contemporary composers who write classical or "pop-classical" music and music for films.

I am not sure exactly what you heard - it could easily be a western composition inspired by traditional Japanese music. I point at traditional Japanese music because of your reference to "minor chords" which are probably pentatonic rather than minor. There are a few ensembles which play combinations of traditional music with western music. They would include Ensemble Nipponica, and a few others. You might narrow it down by listening to the instruments themselves (see links in the last paragraph) and discovering more about what you heard.

There are several types of traditional Japanese music, mostly played in ensemble format - sometimes several musicians on the same instrument (koto and shamisen ensembles), sometimes several/many musicians on several instruments (gagaku, noh, etc). Gagaku is a veeerrry traditional form of court music, largely unchanged in the past thousand plus years.

The main Japanese traditional instruments are the KOTO (a kind of flat, floor-based elongated harp that one picks), the SHAMISEN (a three-stringed banjo-like(?) instrument), the SHAKUHACHI (a bamboo flute), the BIWA (stringed instrument, looks like a lute), the SHO (with a drawn-out "oh" sound - a 'mouth-organ' with bamboo pipes which looks weird and sounds nothing like it looks), and several kinds of other bamboo flutes of different shapes, sizes, and sounds. The other famous instrument is the drum. The one most people have exposure to is the TAIKO, a large wooden-barreled drum which one plays with large sticks in music called "KODO". The more traditional one played in ensemble is the SANNOTSUZUMI, a small drum which is 'tapped' for percussive accent sounds in theater music.

There is a good website in Japanese (though with some effort one can navigate) here with an English introduction page here. There are attached pages to the website for the above-mentioned wind, stringed, and percussion instruments and you can click on the RealMedia logo and hear files of the instrument being played.

Good luck!